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Melancholia / one sheet / lightning style / USA

30.05.13

Poster Poster

Notorious Danish director Lars von Trier‘s apocalyptic drama Melancholia‘s 2011 release was somewhat overshadowed by the controversy surrounding his comments at the Cannes festival press conference for the film in which he expressed various (idiotic) thoughts, including ‘What can I say? I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely. … He’s not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathise with him a little bit.’ This and various other comments saw the director being declared ‘persona non grata’ by the festival’s directors in an unprecedented move. Von Trier apologised for his remarks hours later and even held a press conference in Danish, but the damage was done.

Arguably the director’s most accessible film, certainly when compared to his earlier Dogme 95 features and 2009’s Antichrist, Melancholia opens with a stunning CGI sequence showing the destruction of Earth as the titular planet smashes straight into it. Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Justine (Kirsten Dunst) are sisters dealing with different forms of anxiety and depression during the latter’s wedding reception taking place on the family estate. Justine is shown to be almost catatonic with depression whilst Claire is dealing with her fears over a large blue planet which is revealed to be on a collision course with Earth. The film is split into two sections and follows the way each woman deals with the impending destruction and their relationships with the people around them.

According to this interview article with the director, ‘the idea for the film emerged while he was in treatment for the depression that has haunted him in recent years. A therapist told him a theory that depressives and melancholics act more calmly in violent situations, while “ordinary, happy” people are more apt to panic. Melancholics are ready for it. They already know everything is going to hell.’

This is the ‘static lightning’ style American one sheet for the film that, like the ‘water‘ style is pretty much a still shot from the film (with likely some minor adjustments). It was designed by the Los Angeles-based company Gravillis inc. who are responsible for some of my favourite recent one sheets, including Monsters and I Saw the Devil. IMPAwards features a gallery of a lot of their work. Melancholia was also given a set of teaser posters that can be seen on IMPAwards and features, bizarrely, a Lars von Trier version!

Melancholia / one sheet / water style / USA

30.05.13

Poster Poster

Notorious Danish director Lars von Trier‘s apocalyptic drama Melancholia‘s 2011 release was somewhat overshadowed by the controversy surrounding his comments at the Cannes festival press conference for the film in which he expressed various (idiotic) thoughts, including ‘What can I say? I understand Hitler, but I think he did some wrong things, yes, absolutely. … He’s not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathise with him a little bit.’ This and various other comments saw the director being declared ‘persona non grata’ by the festival’s directors in an unprecedented move. Von Trier apologised for his remarks hours later and even held a press conference in Danish, but the damage was done.

Arguably the director’s most accessible film, certainly when compared to his earlier Dogme 95 features and 2009’s Antichrist, Melancholia opens with a stunning CGI sequence showing the destruction of Earth as the titular planet smashes straight into it. Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Justine (Kirsten Dunst) are sisters dealing with different forms of anxiety and depression during the latter’s wedding reception taking place on the family estate. Justine is shown to be almost catatonic with depression whilst Claire is dealing with her fears over a large blue planet which is revealed to be on a collision course with Earth. The film is split into two sections and follows the way each woman deals with the impending destruction and their relationships with the people around them.

According to this interview article with the director, ‘the idea for the film emerged while he was in treatment for the depression that has haunted him in recent years. A therapist told him a theory that depressives and melancholics act more calmly in violent situations, while “ordinary, happy” people are more apt to panic. Melancholics are ready for it. They already know everything is going to hell.’

This is the ‘water’ style American one sheet for the film that, like the ‘lightning‘ style is pretty much a still shot from the film (with likely some minor adjustments). It was designed by the Los Angeles-based company Gravillis inc. who are responsible for some of my favourite recent one sheets, including Monsters and I Saw the Devil. IMPAwards features a gallery of a lot of their work. Melancholia was also given a set of teaser posters that can be seen on IMPAwards and features, bizarrely, a Lars von Trier version!

The Avengers / screen print / regular / Tyler Stout / USA

31.07.14

Poster Poster

2012 was an important year for several of cinema’s biggest franchises with the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, appearing four years after the last, plus Christopher Nolan bringing his Dark Knight trilogy to a spectacular close with The Dark Knight Rises. However, unquestionably the cinematic event of the year was the much anticipated release of Marvel’s superhero team-up The Avengers.

Even before the successful release of Iron Man in 2008, the production team in charge of what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, had planned to release a series of films focusing on individual superheroes based on Marvel comic characters, with the intention of establishing their backstories, and popularity, with fans before uniting them together in a ‘crossover’ film. The original Avengers comic, which brought together previously stand-alone characters including Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man, was first released in 1963 and has been in print since then so it was no surprise that it was chosen to the be the crossover film following the first five standalone stories.

The film was helmed by cult screenwriter/director Joss Whedon who saw worldwide success with TV shows like Buffy, Angel and cult favourite Firefly, but this was his first major studio film and his appointment in 2010 was seen as a surprise, but welcome, choice by many fans. Whedon pushed the studio allow him to begin a new script after reading a screenplay by Zak Penn that they had been tinkering with since 2007 and the studio eventually agreed, with production beginning in July 2010.

Marvel’s faith in Whedon paid off in spectacular style when the film was released in 2012 and broke multiple worldwide box-office records, including highest-grossing opening in the US, the highest opening week earnings and fewest number of days to reach half a billion dollars (23). It was the highest grossing film of 2012 and currently stands at third in the all-time rankings.

To celebrate the release of the film, Marvel once again worked with Austin-based Mondo to release a series of screen prints based on characters from the film. The incomparable Austin-based geek culture outfit has worked on prints for all of the standalone Marvel releases, starting with Iron Man in 2008 and only skipping the same year’s The Incredible Hulk.

The team at Mondo assembled a roster of its most celebrated artists to turn in designs for each of the main characters and these were released over the period of a week in April 2012, beginning with Olly Moss‘ portrait of Black Widow and ending with Thor by Martin Ansin and Iron Man by Kevin Tong. A few weeks later, on the eve of the film’s release, Mondo then revealed a print featuring all of the characters that was designed and illustrated by arguably their most popular artist, Tyler Stout.

As usual, the print came in both regular and variant versions and, despite each having relatively high print runs, the poster sold out within seconds of going on sale on Mondo’s webshop. I was lucky to snag a copy of the print via Tyler’s ‘lottery’, which he now holds on his own site shortly after each print release sells out via Mondo.

Whilst adding the regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the poster as I’ve done previously with his work on the prints for AkiraKill Bill and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The interview can be read in full by clicking here.

Note that the final image of Iron Man is stamped on the back of the print.

Thor / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

16.11.16

Poster Poster

This screen print depicting the Marvel character Thor, as played by Chris Hemsworth, was created by the talented Uruguayan designer and artist Martin Ansin. It was commissioned by the limited edition poster outfit Mondo as part of a series of prints that were released in preparation for the highly anticipated Marvel superhero team-up, The Avengers (2012). A print was released for each of the seven main heroes featured in the first film. This included one for Captain America by the design outfit Phantom City Creative and one for The Hulk by Ken Taylor. This page on Collider.com shows five of the posters and the other two can be seen here. To finish of the series Mondo asked Tyler Stout to design a poster for the actual Avengers film itself. See here for my interview with Tyler about his work on the print.

Not all of the characters that made the line-up for the first film were given a solo outing before The Avengers was released. The first Iron Man film that was released in 2008 set the template that others followed and made a tidy profit at the box office in doing so. A sequel followed two years later and then Thor’s solo outing was released in 2011 along with the first Captain America film. This then completed what is called Phase One in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase Two began with Iron Man 3 in 2013.

Ansin’s work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series, like this amazing Phantom of the Opera one. This Thor poster was printed in a regular and variant version with the variant having a grey/silver colourway and glow-in-the-dark inks.

The other posters I’ve collected by Ansin can be seen here. His official website is well worth a browse.