Documents on film in the GDR are important materials for researching recent German cultural history. The film poster enjoys special esteem, as it was almost without exception commissioned work by renowned graphic designers who conceived an independent visual solution for each film. Largely unknown today, however, is a special type of poster that was used very effectively in cinema advertising: the so-called 'large format' (Großfläche) in triple A0, which had to be assembled from three individual parts on the billboard. These panoramas, which were a good metre high and almost two and a half metres wide, developed an outstanding visual power - but they have hardly survived in the archives today: Only a small number of the elaborate, oversized prints on stronger paper were produced and these were primarily processed by pasting them on, so that they were lost after use and simply pasted over.
To mark the 75th anniversary of DEFA's founding, this volume presents for the first time more than 150 of these rare large-format posters, produced in the first half of the 1960s. Not only because of their sheer size do these products of contemporary commercial art impress to this day: since the advertising message had to be laid out in landscape format, delightful variations of familiar motifs can be discovered here. For example, designers liked to use the extra space to highlight film titles and slogans, while elements of the original poster design were rearranged, placed and graphically integrated.
The publication documents a poster collection of the Interdisciplinary Research Unit for Historical Media (IFhM) at the University of Erfurt.
Patrick Rössler is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Erfurt and was active for many years as a film critic for daily newspapers and their correspondent at the Berlin Film Festival. He is a member of the Historical Commission of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association and has worked as an exhibition curator in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt a.M., Leipzig and Dresden, among other places; also in Paris, Los Angeles and Fukuoka (Japan). He has been working for many years on the history of visual communication, especially on the popular press and German film journalism in the 20th century (exhibition and publication among others: "The Language of Silent Film", 2006; "The Images of Sound Film", 2014; "Film Fever", 2017). At the University of Erfurt, he is the co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Research Unit for Historical Media (IFhM), where he is specifically responsible for the archive with a closed collection of approximately 150,000 documents on film advertising in the GDR, which almost completely covers the feature films shown in cinemas since 1955. On the topic of "DEFA in Thuringia", he has collaborated on a series of events of the same name, a touring exhibition and a book publication since 2018. The present volume was produced in the context of the Citizen Science Project "Cinema in the GDR", which he co-led (since 2019).