Two events provoked this article. First of all, last week I saw the wonderful 1963 Czech fable The Cassandra Cat (a.k.a. When the Cat Comes) at New York’s newest cinephile hotspot, the Metrograph. In this charming New Wave satire a cat wearing dark glasses is brought into a small town by a circus troupe and, when his glasses are removed, the townspeople are revealed in their true colors: namely neon shades of purple, yellow and pink, each representing their vices or virtues. The highlight of the film for me, aside from a psychedelic freak-out dance party in the middle of the film, comes when all the children of the town march through the street bearing large drawings of cats. Chris Marker would have loved this film.
The second event was the launch this week of Posteritati’s new website. For those who don’t know, Posteritati is my favorite movie poster store in New York and their new website is a dream come true: as much a database of great poster art as it is an online store. The new site features every poster that has ever passed through their door (though if you see something on there that’s no longer for sale you can click on the enquire button and they can try to hunt it down for you). Beautifully laid out and simple to use, the new site is now my new preferred way to look at all the posters for one particular film, or for a particular director, or by a particular designer—all in one place.
One of my favorite new features on the site are the tags. If you want to look at posters featuring ballet or Paris or The Beatles or robots or skylines and cityscapes, simply scroll through the tag menu. And once you have found all the posters featuring robots, for example, you can filter them to only Argentinian posters featuring robots, or musicals featuring robots, or films from the 1930s featuring robots. Or even Argentinian posters for musicals from the 1930s featuring robots (believe it or not, there is one).
Which brings me back to cats. Jake Perlin, the co-founder of the Metrograph, for whom The Cassandra Cat is a personal favorite, told me that if you look hard enough you will find cats in almost every film. For a long time I’ve been noticing cats popping up regularly in Czech and Polish movie posters and have been meaning to collect them in one place, but now, thanks to Posteritati, I can do that with a couple of clicks of the mouse.
Which gives me an excuse to feature my favorite Czech and Polish posters featuring cats. The cats illustrated on these posters (by many of the greats: Fangor, Wasilewski, Vaca, Flisak, Lipinski, Galova-Vodrazkova and Teissig, to name just a few) in such a wide variety of styles remind me of the children’s posters at the end of The Cassandra Cat. All of the posters below are featured on the Posteritati website and quite a few are for sale. Keep reading for a special offer for Notebook readers at the end of this post.
Special offer for Notebook readers: One great advantage of registering an account on the Posteritati website is that you can store your favorite posters for future reference by clicking on the heart symbol next to any poster. If you register at posteritati.com
before midnight on Sunday, March 27 [Offer extended through Friday April 1!] and enter the referral code MUBI (go to LOG IN, hit the REGISTER tab, and then click on "+ Referral Code" and enter MUBI before hitting Register), you will be emailed a unique one-time-use 15% discount code that expires at the end of the year.
Many thanks to Stan Oh and Sam Sarowitz, cat lovers both.