This May brings the 66th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival. Since its origin in 1946, each festival has been memorialized by a new official poster. Visible everywhere throughout the city of Cannes during May, the posters have become synonymous with the festival itself with designs sometimes inspired by films, sometimes created by filmmakers and sometimes tributes to icons who’ve been part of the fest. Naturally, some years are better than others so we’ve picked our favorites from the past 66 years of the festival.
An original design by Leblanc, we love it because the 1946 poster represents the first year of the film festival when it was a just a small film event in the South of France. (Also, notice the fall date of the festival.
2. and 3. 1961 and 1962
A. M. Rodicq designed the film festival’s poster two years in a row. Abstract designs based on shooting stars are two of the most visually stunning posters in the festival’s history.
The 18th year of the festival brought this design by an unknown artist. Generally, putting a film reel on a film poster seems a little obvious but the 1965 design in the shape of a woman and a various countries flags adds just enough color.
This interesting design comes from the iconic Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa who brought us Drunken Angel and Seven Samurai and for that reason alone deserves a spot on our list.
The design for the 37th festival is adapted from a film set by French production designer Alexander Trauner. Trauner designed sets for several films including The Apartment for which he won the Oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration.
Film history nerds will find poster familiar. This year’s poster was dedicated to Eadweard Muybridge who is known for being a pioneer in capturing motion with stop-action photographs. After being hired to see if all of a horse’s legs are off the ground at some point while galloping, he took a series of consecutive shots, he proved it.
8.-10. 1992, 2011 and 2012
There’s something about Cannes posters featuring black-and-white photographs of gorgeous actresses. These three years mark some of the most simple in the festival’s 66-year history but are some of the best.
The 1992 poster featured Marlene Dietrich, a German-American actress who passed away just days before the festival.
In 2011, the poster featured a beautiful picture of Faye Dunaway taken by legendary photographer and director Jerry Schatzberg in 1970, six years before the star won the “Best Actress” Academy Award for her performance in Network.
Last year’s poster was a tribute to America’s favorite sex symbol Marilyn Monroe; the festival marked the 50th anniversary of her death.
A still from Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious covered the 1993 festival poster. The film premiered as an Official Selection at the 1946 festival. The black-and-white picture of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in an embrace had to make it on our list.
The 53rd festival surrounded the city of Cannes with an original illustration by Lorenzo Mattoti. The artwork on the poster is similar to the illustrations in Mattoti’s popular graphic novel adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
This poster marks the first on our list by an agency. Created by Alerte Orange, a communication and graphic company, the little girl channeling a Marilyn moment in her shadow is too cute to not make on our list.
The 2007 poster was a photo homage to Philippe Halsman. The Russian photographer grew famous for capturing celebrities mid-jump, convinced that’s when they reveal their true personality. The festival decided to dedicate its 60th anniversary to Halsman’s tradition and had Alex Majoli capture several celebrities mid air including Bruce Willis, Penelope Cruz and Samuel L. Jackson.
By 2010, the festival was on its third year of a series of celebrating “heroines as representations of screen mysteries.” Annick Durban created this poster from a picture of French actress Juliette Binoche illuminating the film world with the stroke of her brush. The original photograph was taken by Brigitte Lacombe.