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April 14, 2002

Faces of the screen It is with considerable relief that I find someone else who notices this stuff in movies:
[Chocolat] is set in a small town in provincial France, mid-1950s. About halfway through the film, the town’s mayor puts up notices forbidding anyone to eat anything but bread and weak tea during Lent (which of course coincides with the opening of the new chocolaterie). I almost laughed when they showed a close-up of the notice. The headline was set in ITC Benguiat, a typeface which debuted in 1978 and was mainly popular in the ’80s.
Laugh all you like. But this stuff constantly throws me (albeit briefly) out of movies I’m otherwise absorbed in. The Coen brothers, whose movies I generally love, are notable offenders, probably because they do in fact use a lot of stylish typography. (The author of the piece above goes on to critique The Hudsucker Proxy in terms embarrassingly similar to those I myself used in a post-theater rant to several bemused but tolerant friends.) It’s reassuring to see that someone who’s not me (or my wife, my graphic-designer parents, or John D. Berry) nonetheless suffers from this tragic condition. Give generously for a cure. [07:13 PM]
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