Riviera – Decoding the Posters

A quick look at some of the publicity posters for season 1 and season 2 of RIVIERA (on Sky Atlantic in the UK).

Like any analysis of a poster, it doesn’t really matter if you have or haven’t seen the programme. It’s more important that you can “decode” what you see.

You can discuss the background (location, colour, image), the use of colour (connotations), the use of font (type, size, colour) and the relative positioning/composition of the poster (layout).

Also, can you analyse the posters and determine something about the characters or the narrative?

RIVIERA SEASON 1 BILLBOARD

On the Sky Creative Agency website, they briefly discuss this image – including a major reference to a work of art. Can you spot it? (Answer at the bottom of this post). If you can spot it – what are the implications of comparing this poster to that artwork?

  • high angle shot – suggesting she has less power? vulnerable?
  • main character lying floating in a swimming pool – relaxing? reference to work of art?
  • she is looking directly at us – why?
  • she is located bottom left of poster – why? what does this suggest?
  • reflections of palm trees – warm, rich location?
  • blood in the water – her blood? someone else’s? suggestion of violence?
  • a figure watching her, reflected in the water
  • gold font, rich, but peeling? decayed? – meaning?
  • serif font – suggesting…?
  • what genre is this?
  • what happens in the story? themes? incidents?

Season 2 of RIVIERA has just debuted. The billboard poster now takes a slightly different approach. Again, can you decode the image?

You can discuss the background (location, colour, image), the use of colour (connotations), the use of font (type, size, colour) and the relative positioning/composition of the poster (layout).

Can you make any conclusions about the character or the narrative?

RIVIERA SEASON 2 BILLBOARD

To get you started –

  • the main character is still looking directly at us
  • she is now inside, pool outside
  • she is wearing more clothes than before.
  • she is reflected in a broken mirror? Furnishings in the room suggest?
  • What do each of these observations suggest?
  • What else can you see? what conclusions can you draw from your observations?


The artwork the Season 1 poster references is “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais. https://www.skycreative.uk/riviera

The painting is inspired by the character Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who drowns.

Ophelia 1851-2 Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896 Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N01506

In addition, Julia Stile’s character is an art dealer…

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