To the western reader, graphic design of the early Soviet period carries a mysterious and even hyperactive aggressive effect. This feeling can certainly be attributed to the foreignness of the Cyrillic script, with its thick strokes, bold outlines, staggered and almost rudimentary spacing. When it’s illegible, the Russian alphabet bares some similarities to the Roman one, yet its curious backward glyphs and symbols make it just strange enough to see the makings of more eastern alphabets, like the Chinese character.
This poster bears all the proto-modern elements of Russian Constructivist design, making it certainly appealing to lovers of graphic design. As functional object though, it is actually a movie poster advertising the 1924 film Die Nibelungen by the great German director Fritz Lang. Lang directed two silent fantasy films based on the Norse epic poem Nibelungenlied. The same story made famous by Richard Wagner in his opera The Ring Cycle. This poster advertises the first part of the film series, Siegfried to be played from the 17th of November at the Colosseum Theatre, weekdays at 8 and10:15 and weekends at 6, with a full orchestra to complement the silent film.
Both Siegfried and its sequel Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Rache (revenge) were successful in Europe and the US. Lang’s next film, Metropolis, filmed in 1927 solidified his innovative directorship everywhere, making him an auteur for the ages.