Graduation is Romanian auteur and director of Palme d'or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Cristian Mungiu's follow- up to Beyond the Hills. Ahead of its release in our cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinemas on Friday 31 March, Avalon from the Curzon Artificial Eye team takes us through the reveal of an exclusive new alternative poster and the process behind its design.
Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation is a film about two generations at loggerheads.
Doting father Romeo is willing to do anything to help his daughter Eliza escape life in Romania for a better future. When a shocking incident the day before her final exams threatens to scupper her chances of gaining a place at a top UK university, Romeo is prepared to use any means necessary to ensure his daughter secures the marks she needs. However, his attempts to manipulate the system threaten to undermine everything Eliza has ever worked for – and to cause fractures in their relationship that can never be fixed.
We wanted to produce a poster that could tell the story of Romeo and Eliza, and the world in which they live, in the blink of an eye. Here’s how we approached it.
The design: people and places
Romeo and Eliza’s father-daughter relationship forms the core of Graduation. For our poster artwork, designed by The Posterhouse, we wanted to place the two of them front and centre – in deadlock, face to face, eyes fixed on each other.
Setting our characters head-on on opposing sides of the artwork pairs a sense of closeness and intimacy with a conflicting feeling of urgency and tension, similar to the effect we sought in our poster for Michael Haneke’s Amour. Inspired by the artwork for Mungiu’s earlier film, the Palme d’Or-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, we cropped in close and stripped back the colour as a nod to the stark emotion and formal restraint of his filmmaking.
Mungiu is fascinated by how people are shaped by their environments, so, taking inspiration from the poster for Beyond the Hills, we knew we needed our design to set our two characters firmly in context. To give a sense of the bleak and oppressive nature of Graduation’s Romania, we used a backdrop of crumbling Soviet-era architecture and crossed wires to give a sense of our characters being walled in and bound by circumstance. Here, we also looked to The Selfish Giant’s use of minimal and abstracted industrial infrastructure to reflect the fragmented nature of their environment.
Alternative artwork: broken bonds
While Graduation’s glimpse into corrupt systems is compelling, the story it tells of Romeo and Eliza’s disintegrating relationship is genuinely devastating. What makes the loss of their bond so profound is the strength and hope we see in it at the very beginning.
In this exclusive alternative artwork, we wanted to echo this contrasting sense of love and loss. With Romeo and Eliza’s arms wrapped tightly around each other, the bond between father and daughter is clearly strong – and seemingly unbreakable. However, in the background, again we see the looming threat of the world in which they live, pushing them to make decisions that could end up destroying the very things they want to protect.
[Avalon Lyndon, Curzon Artificial Eye]