An Interview With a Gentle Creature - Film Posters Of Olga Poláčková Vyleťalová
In this post, we translated an interview with Olga Poláčková - Vyleťalová and created a gallery of her most beautiful film posters.
Olga is one of the most significant author of Czechoslovakian film posters. She created dozens of them. She got famous thanks to the iconic poster for Robert Bresson’s film Une Femme Douche (Gentle Creature), even though she doesn’t particularly like that one (and even though the author of the original image that she took her inspiration from is a fashion and celebrity photographer Ben Stern famous for photographs of Sue Lyons wearing heart-shaped sunglasses on the set of Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita that became the iconic poster for the film).
Are you still enjoying movies?
I always have been a movie maniac, I even enjoy watching TV. I’m digging movies where people talk a lot, something has to be solved, are full of glitches and where they cleverly play with psychology. I don’t like much of contemporary Czech film. I think it is due to lack of interesting screenplays and fantasy.
I have noticed something similar in film poster art today, rationality and technical accomplishment overbalance the character which distinguish visual expression.
The posters are not interesting because thanks to the technical equipment and collective work they lose all individuality of a designer, it became consumable graphic design. Somebody is toggling something on the PC and that is really something different than if person is creating something right on the table, trying to find the right material and technique for his thought. Occasionally some modern posters come out nice though.
What was your creative philosophy?
I always wanted the poster to define and describe the film so that you have a certain feeling of it…if it’s a love story, if it is uplifting or dark. It was Important to me that I created something with thought, secretively, not chaotically broken. I also attempted for some sort of a joke, not that it always happened and also something that had some value, that wasn’t shallow. Simply to make people think about it. That’s why they were giving me more films with a poetic background, but I was also creating the more formal posters for war movies.
You were creating in 70’s and 80’s. Did you go through any political conflict?
When I did ‘Angel with the Devil Inside, I created a beautiful woman’s bosom deep intertwined with feathers that slightly concealed them. It was a fight for every feather! When I’m looking at Polish posters, they are much more opened to the nakedness and erotica. It wouldn’t be possible in Czechoslovakia. They were quite prudish within the communist board of commission for movies. Apart from naked ladies we couldn’t use flags or show currency in the poster.
Some of your posters were awarded internationally. Your iconic poster is ‘Gentle Creature’ for a French film from 1970.
It was my first independent artwork, it wasn’t a big deal for me. I didn’t even think much of it, I definitely didn’t think it could ever become so famous. When I was creating it, the posters was rather boring, not much was happening on the artistic side. The first poster I was impressed with was ‘La dolce Vita’ by Karel Vaca. Since that artists started to create something more interesting and gritty, it was becoming more of an art.
Why do you think that ‘Gentle Creature’ became so popular?
I think the reason is of it’s success is that it was so widespread among the general public. A lot of people would tell me that they had it on their children’s wall at home. I think no other poster had such a homey functioning. Despite that I had slightly negative relationship to it, I didn’t like it that much. It ia s pity if only one artwork takes all the attention.
Author: Katerina Farna, Pravo, Translation ©: Lukas Tvarda, Czech Poster Gallery