4/20 BUG OUT: Phase IV

Saul Bass wasn’t just an artist who contributed to the first several minutes of some of the greatest movies in history — in my opinion his body of work qualifies him as one of the best filmmakers of one of this, or any other time.“ – Steven Spielberg

Seekers of celestial psych cinema need no longer cue up 2001’s “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” to unlock their third eye; enter the optically luscious, organically abstract and singular universe of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists. Graphic designer/filmmaker Saul Bass’s only feature-length effort is a triumph of visual storytelling that communicates impending sentient insect peril through unparalleled microphotography, sound & art design, abstract architecture and subtle gestures. Using the touchstone of Kubrick’s monolithic freakout as a cinematic challenge, Bass confidently takes up the mantle of smart and strange sci-fi, making Spaceship Earth feel alien and fantastic. Widely underappreciated and guaranteed to be the most stunning theatrical experience you’ll have this year, Bass’ ultra-imaginative journey is a train you’ll immediately want to board. Plus, alongside the film, Bass’s original mind-shattering eight-minute finale — trimmed from the 1974 theatrical release, and entirely unseen until discovered in the vaults a few years ago — will be presented after the screening. This footage is a cornucopia of some of the most truly nuts, experimental optical-printing trickery you’ll ever see.

Dir. Saul Bass, 1974, DCP, 84 min + 8 min (digital presentation)