As the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival gets underway in Italy we’ve been thinking about the history of Italian cinema and how moviegoing has changed over the past seven decades. From the silent costume drama of Giovanni Pastrone’s Cabiria in 1914 (written by Gabriele D’Annunzio) to the criminal world of Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah in 2008, the striking images of Italian cinema have captured our attention and our imagination thanks, in part, to the artists who have designed the film posters that first introduced us to these movies.
When you sit down in the movie theater and the lights dim as your hand digs into a bag of popcorn you are transported time and again into a world that is not your own, but that you care about nonetheless. While it’s undeniable that seeing a film in the theater is a magical experience, you might wonder what it is that got you in the door. With DVDs, Blu-ray discs and, of course, streaming, it’s no surprise that less and less people choose to see a movie in the cinema. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the ability of movie posters, whether they are hung in a lobby or posted at a bus stop, to start us dreaming about the world of a film.
In honor of the 7 decades of the Venice Film Festival we have chosen our 9 favorite film posters that celebrate the talent, creativity and magic of Italian film through captivating design.
Cabiria, 1914. Directed by Giovanni Pastrone. Poster design by Leopoldo Metlicovitz.
La Dolce Vita, 1960. Directed by Federico Fellini.
Il boom [The Boom], 1963. Directed by Vittorio de Sica.
Il conformista [The Conformist], 1970. Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Zabriskie Point, 1970. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. Poster design by Milton Glaser.
La classe operaia va in paradiso [The Working Class Goes to Heaven], 1971 . Directed by Elio Petri.
Suspiria, 1977. Directed by Dario Argento.
La citta’ delle donne [City of Women], 1980. Directed by Federico Fellini. Poster illustration by Milo Manara.