For obvious reasons, we love one-sheets around these parts, particularly when it comes to exploitation movies. In fact, if you’ve seen the posters for some of the films we discuss on this blog, then you know the advertising artwork can often be better than the movies themselves. I mean, look at this! What’s not to love?
But as campy and outlandish as some of our homegrown one-sheets can be here in the states (especially the ones produced before Photoshop practically killed the art), they pale in comparison to what the folks in Ghana started cranking out in the 1980s. If you don’t believe me, then just take a gander at this list of 20 of the most awesome movie posters you may never have seen before.
If these remind you of fairground art, you’re not that far off. During the early 80s, the advent of the video cassette allowed entrepreneurial Ghanaians to create mobile cinemas (basically a TV, a VCR, and a generator) which moved from town to town exhibiting films the populace couldn’t otherwise see. And in order to advertise these travelling roadshows, the distributors hired artists to hand paint posters. Unfortunately, about all the artists had to work with were some oil paints, a bunch of old flour sacks for canvas, and a few film stills from a movie they’d never even heard of. Oh, and they also had a ton of imagination. So that Cujo poster may not be exactly accurate as far as the movie (or real life for that matter) is concerned, but man is it ever undeniably cool.
You know, back in my teens when I was hanging out at the local multiplex, I assure you I gave little thought to the idea that half way across the world people were crowding into a small tent somewhere in Ghana to watch Raiders Of The Lost Ark on a fuzzy TV screen. They may as well have been on another planet. Fortunately, age often takes care of that kind of ignorance. But with such vastly different life experiences, it does make a person wonder sometimes how the peoples of the world will ever be able to come together in mutual understanding. And then you remember…
Of the approximately 16 million Christians in Ghana, only around five million of them are still Catholic. But as the video above demonstrates, one of the special things about the Catholic Church is the uniformity of the mass. Yeah, yeah, I know, uniformity, how boring right? But it serves a particular purpose. As the Catechism reminds us, “As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration. They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical families… The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity: - the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions; - the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.”
So what that means is that if someone like me were to travel to Ghana, I might have no clue as to why these guys are carrying a dead person around in a large fish…
… but thanks to the maintaining of a centuries old structure, I could walk into a Ghanaian mass on Sunday morning and instantly be able to participate despite the cultural and language barrier. In essence, the sameness of the mass around the world links us together as children of God and becomes to the rest of the world an outward visible sign of the universal Church. Not a bad idea to keep in mind the next time you’re feeling a little bored with that same old mass.