Reel Asian 2017: Our Review of ‘The Posterist’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Reel Asian 2017 by - November 15, 2017
Reel Asian 2017: Our Review of ‘The Posterist’

I see The Posterist trying to get point for me by using Franz Schubert’s music, which I’ll readily give. This documentary is also about a reclusive artist. The movie, about the director’s search for film poster illustrator Yuen Tai-Yung, should be in my wheelhouse but it isn’t. There’s so many things that go wrong, starting with the mostly male interview subjects lauding his work. Some of them talk about his mix of naturalism and expressionism. Others would break down his colour schemes. Which fine, that’s interesting to me but I’m not sure if others would be into that kind of talk.

These talking heads would also discuss the collectors of his work collectors, mostly amateur ones. And how they would tear down his posters before the glue dried so that they could take his work home. We leave these interview subjects and return to director Hui See-wai and how he came to know Yuen’s posters. Which we could have seen in the beginning. Hui might have wanted to use the interviews first to express Yuen’s importance. But the rest of his film would have done that anyway. I couldn’t wait until we get to meet the artist himself to add meat to the film.

Eventually we discover that Yuen immigrated from and back Hong Kong and that he was Facebook friends with Hue. Yuen is not so much the reclusive, temperamental artist that others have warned him about. What we see instead is an accommodating host who shows Hui more of his illustrations. It’s a scene that runs ten minutes too long and required more patience from its audience. I keep thinking of better ways to organize this information to make it seem less repetitive. As well meaning as this documentary is, there are better ways to praise Yuen’s work.

This post was written by

While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.