Softcover: 240 pages
Publisher: CentreCentre, 2023
Moving Pictures Painted surveys seven decades of illustrated Egyptian film posters – spotlighting both the art form and the artists that cinematic history has often overlooked.
As Egypt honed its distinctive style of movie-making in the early 20th century, an alchemy of cultural specificities and legal idiosyncrasies saw the development of a parallel craft that took on a life of its own: film posters. Made largely with stone litho printing and conceived by illustrators who worked independently from the production studios, Egyptian cinema’s poster culture generated an ecosystem of creativity that rivalled the movies themselves.
Variously melodramatic and minimalist, reflecting eras of liberation and conservatism alike, the posters were displayed on billboards in thrumming metropolises like Cairo and Alexandria during their heyday, as well as on a smaller scale outside local theatres. Showcasing established film stars and catapulting new faces to fame, the posters allowed Egyptian artists and illustrators to absorb an international scene while cementing their own visual languages. Joining a global conversation yet remaining unmistakably Egyptian in sensibility and aesthetic, posters from the industry’s golden age acted as a weathervane for the country’s mood and culture. Featuring more than 200 examples, alongside analysis from film historians and academic specialists, Moving Pictures Painted reprises one of cinema’s most singular – and most spectacular – eras, in Egypt or anywhere else.
Featuring over 200 images and essays from Joseph Fahim, Haytham Nawar and Christiane Gruber.