Film still for "Lotte in Weimar"

More Art Than Advertising

The GDR Movie Poster 1945-1990

German Title: Mehr Kunst als Werbung. Das DDR-Filmplakat 1945-1990

Detlef Helmbold
672 Pages, 6.385 images
Hardcover, 27,8 x 32,5 cm
Price: 96,00 Euro (plus shipping)
ISBN: 978-3-86505-410-4
Obtainable at: Bertz+Fischer Verlag

The Book

Film poster making in the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) and in the GDR is clearly defined: There is the first poster (from 1945) and the last (created in 1990). During this period, more than 400 graphic artists, some of whom are only partially known, created around 6,400 posters, because for every film that came into the cinemas - be it DEFA productions like I Was Nineteen (Ich war neunzehn, 1968) European art film imports like La Strada or Hollywood films like Tootsie - a separate poster was needed. They are all gathered together in this book.

All graphic techniques were used in the designs, all styles of classical modernism were adapted. And so the volume not only provides a walk through 45 years of film history, but also an overview of the different phases of artistic design and aesthetics (not only) in the Soviet Zone and the GDR. The diversity of the visual languages of the designers, their courage for graphic reduction, as well as their emancipation - especially in comparison to the famous Polish film poster - becomes visible. The book also proofs that film advertising in the GDR was an independent artistic genre, whose multi-faceted nature will astonish cineasts and inspire graphic designers.

Three essays by Detlef Helmbold embed the collection in the graphic, artistic and socio-political context. Sorted by year, the volume contains not only illustrations of all the posters, but also the filmographic details and years of performance of the films as well as the names of the poster designers.

A unique reference work for cineasts, art lovers and friends of GDR cinema history, in which it is also possible to find out, quite incidentally, which films were shown in the GDR at all and at what time.

The Author

Detlef Helmbold, born in 1960, works as a freelance graphic artist in Berlin. He studied commercial graphics at the Kunsthochschule in Berlin Weißensee and worked as an employed graphic designer at Progress Film Distribution from 1986 to 1990. From the 90s onwards, he created over 50 film posters as a freelancer. Since 2008 he has been passing on his experience and enthusiasm for poster design to young graphic designers as a lecturer in art direction and creativity techniques.

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