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Analysing Film Posters

Jassy Hothi | Thursday September 06, 2012

Categories: Posters, Film Poster Analysis, Skills

When analysing any film poster you need to consider the following points:

What Types of Poster Are There?

Identify which type of poster it is.

The Teaser Poster

This poster contains basic information to whet your appetite. It often does not indicate much about the plot, but may have a picture of the stars, and the name of the film.

The Main Poster

This contains information about the production personnel, the stars, and the distributors.

Video/DVD Release Poster

This one comes out when the film is released on DVD/video and often has all of the above plus short, one line reviews from relevant publications.

Character Poster

This one features the main character. Remember that the posters could be a combination of two types.

  • Images of the key settings and the main characters. What is the title of the film? What can you say about the way in which the title graphics have been written? Who is starring in the film? Where are the stars’ names placed on the poster? Why? Describe the key images on your poster. Why have they been chosen? Talk about what images are used - stars, setting, colours, symbols, (mise-en-scene). What do they suggest/signify? What other pictures can you see? What is their purpose? What are the most important colours on your poster? Why do you think these were chosen? What do you think the film will be about? Who is the target audience?
  • Narrative: What clues are there to the narrative? What can you tell about the genre of the film and the types of characters from their facial expression, body language, stance, appearance and position on the poster? What makes you say this? What impression do you get of the character/personalities from their expression, clothes, props. Is there an enigma being presented. Is the poster composed of a series of images (montage, lack of perspective) Is the key image a still from the film?
  • Colours: What colours are used in the posters? Are they relevant to the genre eg horror posters...

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