Freehand movie posters exhibition sketches Chinese film history
Updated: 2016-12-14


Shanghai Film Museum exhibits 12 freehand posters of movie classics from November to Feb 6, 2017. [Photo provided to]

Like stumbling across an old diary, seeing the original poster from a classic movie can instantly transport us back to a different age. Shanghai Film Museum is offering to take visitors on a journey through the history of Chinese film with an exhibition of posters from some of the country's greatest post-war movies.

The exhibition, which opened in November and runs till Feb 6, features posters from 12 movies including modern works like Fatal Decision, but the highlights are the posters from Mao-era classics such as the Railway Guerrilla and He's off Today.

Before the rise of digital design software, movie posters were truly works of art hand-painted by some of the country's most famous artists, and the posters on show in the exhibition are original works by poster artists from that era.


Renowned painter Chen Yifei's freehand poster of the classic movie The Youth [Photo provided to]

Renowned artists such as Jiang Zhaohe and Chen Yifei took movie posters to new heights of style and sophistication, enlivening their work with everything from watercolors to oils, cartoons, sketches, and even traditional Chinese paintings.

Each poster would take several days' work, requiring not only great artistic skill, but also a designer's eye for the layout and structure of the poster, as well as a thorough understanding of the movie itself.

"Freehand poster art is a unique jewel shining in China's film industry," said one veteran designer.

Exhibition details:
4/F, Shanghai Film Museum
No 585, North Caoxi Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Admission fee: 60 yuan

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