The first film poster in the history of cinema

France, 1902. Thanks to the decisive contribution of Ferdinand Zecca, Pathé Frères established a name for itself as one of the most important film production houses, with an ever increasing annual revenue and fictional films, each one longer than the next, being added to the catalogue. It was in this year that, as a means to promote a film directed by Zecca, an unprecedented marketing tool was brought forth: the film poster.

The film was Les Victimes de l’alcoolisme, liberally inspired by Emile Zola’s L’assomoir (as far as we are aware, this is the first film adaptation of one of his works) and is scheduled to be shown during this year’s Cinema Ritrovato. Recognised as one of the first examples of social criticism in cinema: tackling the issue of alcoholism through the story of an alcoholic worker who eventually drags his family into despair and poverty.

The film poster, pictorial and colourful, was entrusted to a Brazilian illustrator, Cândido Aragonez de Faria, who moved to Paris in the year 1882.

Around the same months, Faria draw also the film poster of another film programmed at the festival this year, Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs(12 tableaux), that was produced by Pathé Freres and directed by Ferdinand Zecca as well.