Dark Hall Mansion has just announced the next print in their Seminal Film Series and this time out they are re-partnering with Laurent Durieux on a gorgeous print that will instantly take you back to 1954.
The aim of Dark Hall Mansion’s DHM Seminal Film Series is the very bridging of cinema as art and art as cinema. To create beautiful art prints for some of the most resonant American and international films, distilling film and imagery while beholden to no specific screening or advertising obligations. Our aim right from the onset was to honor the tradition of vintage film posters while simultaneously releasing our commissioned artists from most studio commercial constraints. The single goal, to create stunning pieces that are stand alone works of art, the very essence of each film distilled and rendered in such a fashion that anyone, even on the most cursory of viewings, will at once appreciate the prints for their visual beauty or in the historical context of what made these films so relevant in the first place. Gerard Pallares – President/ Dark Hall Mansion
Dark Hall Mansion is pleased to bring back one of our favorite artists, Laurent Durieux, for our next officially licensed limited edition print release in the DHM Seminal Film Series, the original 1954 Japanese landmark film, “Godzilla.” On sale this Friday, August 28th!
Dark Hall Mansion, under license from Warner Bros Entertainment, will release one of the most influential and classic of all Sci-Fi films, “Godzilla.” First appearing in 1954, “Godzilla’s” impact and influence on worldwide culture is both inescapable and undeniable, yet it’s Laurent’s treatment of the film’s serious underpinnings that moved us in his conceptualization and rendering of something different, something serious and more resonant via his piece. Godzilla’s origin is inextricably tied to nuclear radiation and with Laurent’s depiction of Godzilla’s symbolic rise from the unmistakable shape of a nuclear blast’s mushroom cloud, the horrors of nuclear war and nuclear weapons proliferation are powerfully driven home. We were taken with Laurent’s quiet pastoral landscape that splits time via a distinct before and after moment, one that was very real and very much on the minds of Japan’s society in 1954, just nine years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and one that is still very much with us and on the minds of all today.
24″ X 36″
Standard Edition of 350 $65
“Godzilla” Select Foil Edition of 20 (based on STD artwork) $150
The essence of DHM’s Seminal Film Series is to showcase an artist’s work in print in a manner this is visually striking, compelling, and hopefully at times, provocative. We feel Laurent has done just that with his “Godzilla,” his pieces here not just entertain but provoke thought and consideration. His Standard edition’s color palette evocatively underscores his visual’s powerful thematics while his Variant edition has a darker intensity harkening to the film’s black and white origins, its visuals strikingly offset with only Godzilla’s name rendered via kanji.
24″ X 36″
Variant Edition of 125 $100
“Godzilla” Select Foil Edition of 20 (based on Variant artwork) $150
“Godzilla” Select Giclee Printed on Canvas Edition of 15 (based on Variant artwork) $275
We reached out to Laurent about this project and he was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to enlighten us about this project in this exclusive interview.
BLURPPY – Godzilla is one of those iconic characters that has been done in numerous films and is a favorite topic for many artists. What is it about this character that resonates with folks some 60+ years after he first hit the screen?
Laurent Durieux – Well I can’t really speak for others, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve always been fascinated by the early days of Monster/Science fiction movies, the early days of special effects most particularly. In retrospect, they are naive in the execution, yet I’m sure when they hit the screens some 60 odd years ago (or 80 years ago as it was the case for “King Kong” or even further in time with “Trip to the Moon” by Georges Méliès in the 1902), they must have been so scary, fascinating and “realistic”. And that’s what touches me in a way; the many different generations of visual wizardry and ingenuity and how the respective audience responded to it back in the days. Who knows, one day, 50 or 60 years from now, we’ll be “smiling” looking at Jurassic Park and find it “cute”? As for the character itself, Godzilla really is the japanese alter ego of my favorite Monster, “King Kong” but with a twist that I will elaborate in the next question and which I find extremely interesting.
BLURPPY – What was your approach and process like for this print?
Laurent Durieux – The hardest part for me was to come up with an image that would go beyond just a city destroying monster flick. I believe that though Godzilla’s first goal was to scare the audience in a entertaining fashion, the movie theme goes deeper than that just that. The movie was released in 1954, so 9 years only after both Hiroshima and Nagazaki nuclear blasts. Imagine that! So for me, Godzilla (who became a destroying monster because of the submarine nuclear tests) conveys an entire and more poignant message. What if “Godzilla” was some sort of catharsis about the atomic horror the Japanese have suffered? A way for the Japanese to turn the page and move on. It also most definitely is a way of saying, Hey Nuke power is dangerous when it goes out of control, it backfires at the humanity in most devastating ways, trust us, we’ve been there!
So rather than depicting a monster spitting flames and destroying the city, I wanted to emphasize this angle, the historic/social interpretation of the movie. Naturally “Gojira” was born out of a nuclear blast and that’s exactly what I drawn. I wanted to depict a contrast of the quiet landscape of the ancestral Japan with the modern day horror at its worst.
BLURPPY – Personally I find myself being drawn to the person walking, carrying the lantern, is there any special significance for this person?
Laurent Durieux – Me too! The lantern in Japan is used mainly for celebration, 2015 is the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagazaki disaster. So I wanted to include that in the poster as a subtle hidden message. I love the way the man holding the lantern is walking quietly, he is not running or panicking, he seems to be serene about this. It also emphasize the contrast. The bottom of the image is an ode to the wonderful work of japanese woodblock prints artists and more precisely to Hazui Kawase who is my absolute favorite. Again, tradition is very important in Japanese culture and I wanted to somehow show that in the image too. Tradition vs Modernity, pretty much how it still is today in Japan.
BLURPPY – Out of all they years and many versions of Godzilla, what is your favorite and why? The Tojo Company version, or the Legendary Pictures take?
Laurent Durieux – I couldn’t say as I haven’t seen the recent remake. I’m usually opposed to any sorts of remakes as they are rarely better than the originals. For the reasons I explained in my first answer, I will always be attracted to the more expressionists and first takes on a subject. Also, like it was the case for all of the Universal Monsters movies whose posters I designed a couple of years ago, I had never seen Godzilla before. I’m a bit embarrassed admitting it but that’s the truth. I am grateful to have been asked to work on such a fantastic movie as it has allowed me to discover yet another seminal movie and hopefully bring a fresh take on it.
Huge thanks to Laurent Durieux for speaking with us about this project. Be sure to follow him on FACEBOOK, his OFFICIAL WEBSITE and check out his OFFICIAL STORE as you never know when he will have goodies in there.
All DHM officially licensed Seminal Film Series limited edition “Godzilla” prints go on sale THIS FRIDAY, Aug 28th, at 9:30 AM PST on their OFFICIAL STORE PAGE.