To commemorate the complete retrospective of the films of Luchino Visconti starting today at New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center, I decided to choose my favorite poster for each film in Visconti’s titanic body of work (including the three portmanteau films to which he contributed episodes). For many of his films the range of posters are an embarrassment of riches ranging from tempestuous Italian romanticism and beautifully executed French realism to stark German stylization and wry Polish surrealism. Although I think that Italian romanticism certainly suits Visconti best of all in terms of really representing his work—Averardo Ciriello’s stirring portrait of storm-lashed fishermen for La terra trema being a case in point—it is the more gnomic Polish films that I seem to have gravitated to most. There are eight Polish posters here and what is remarkable is that each one is by a different Polish artist: Borowy, Hibner, Krajewski, Swierzy, Gorka, Ihnatowicz, Flisak and Klimowski are all represented here. I also very much like a few of Visconti’s American posters: for Sandra, The Stranger and Ludwig, all with their lurid taglines (“What Sandra does...is astonishing.”)
Visconti’s oeuvre is presented in chronological order from 1943’s Ossessione (above) through to his final film, 1976’s The Innocent. Feel free to disagree with any of my choices and link to your own favorites in the comments below.
Visconti: A Retrospective runs June 8 - 28, 2018. Posters courtesy of Posteritati, Heritage Auctions and KinoArt.net.