Saul Bass on Film

Phase IV (encore presentation!)

Special encore presentation!
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7/1/2012 - 7:30PM

“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. 1974′s wildly unique Phase IV is a triumph of visual storytelling that communicates impending sentient insect peril through unparalleled microphotography, sound & art design, abstract architecture and subtle gestures. As if taking Kubrick’s monolithic freakout as a cinematic challenge, director Saul Bass takes up the mantle of smart and strange sci-fi in what is rightly 2001’s legitimate progeny. Widely under-appreciated and guaranteed to be the most stunning theatrical experience you’ll have this year, Bass’ sole feature film is a trip you don’t want to miss.
Dir. Saul Bass, 1974, 35mm, 84 min.

NOTE: FOR THIS ENCORE PRESENTATION, CINEFAMILY WILL NOT BE SCREENING THE “LONG-LOST” ALTERNATE ENDING TO “PHASE IV.”

“Watch the trailer for “Phase IV”!YouTube Preview Image

Saul Bass on Film (Day 2): "Phase IV", "Quest" & "The Solar Film"

Your most stunning theatrical experience this year!
Phase IV (1974) 
Directed by Saul Bass
Shown: Nigel Davenport, M
6/24/2012 - 8:30PM

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. Saul Bass once said “design is thinking made visual” and, throughout his career, always thought two steps ahead of the collective consciousness, birthing images both instantly timeless and boldly progressive. It’s a testament to Bass’s unique eye that his 1980 educational short The Solar Film (exploring how we can harness the sun’s power) manages to make our own Spaceship Earth feel alien and fantastic — and that his jaw-dropping, crystalline 1983 sci-fi short Quest (adapting a story by the late Ray Bradbury) achieves effects of such scope and quality on such limited means that George Lucas made his staff at ILM study it. As amazing as these shorts are, they are the worker ants to the queen ant that is his monumental achievement Phase IV, a triumph of visual storytelling that communicates impending sentient insect peril through unparalleled microphotography, sound & art design, abstract architecture and subtle gestures. As if taking Kubrick’s monolithic freakout as a cinematic challenge, Bass takes up the mantle of smart and strange sci-fi in what is rightly 2001’s legitimate progeny. Widely underappreciated and guaranteed to be the most stunning theatrical experience you’ll have this year, Bass’ sole feature is a trip you don’t want to miss.
Phase IV Dir. Saul Bass, 1974, 35mm, 91 min.

Archival materials courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Saul Bass On Film”!

Watch the trailer for “Phase IV”!
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Watch an excerpt from “The Solar Film”!
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Watch an excerpt from “Quest”!
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Saul Bass on Film (Day 1): Commercials, Titles, Shorts and Rarities

One of the great designers of the 20th century!
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6/23/2012 - 5:30PM

“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

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been touched by and have admired designer/filmmaker Saul Bass — his striking work is ubiquitous to the modern eye, and his name has become synonymous with graphic design. You’ve frequently taken in his elegant, striking logos, from the AT&T “death star” to the silhouetted Girl Scout cookie sisters. He single-handedly reinvented the movie title sequence (Vertigo, West Side Story, Exodus and Goodfellas? All Bass creations), illustrated the most stylistically influential movie posters, and probably created the best film sequence Hitchcock ever directed — yes, the shower scene from Psycho. Yet an equally brilliant area of his work remains vastly underseen: commercials, whimsical educational and industrial films, a fantastical Ray Bradbury adaptation, and Phase IV, one of the most visually striking sci-fi features from the genre’s Seventies golden age. With precise efficiency, Bass (with his wife/collaborator Elaine) communicated enormous feeling and information into the smallest of spaces, making him not only of our greatest designers or filmmakers — but one of the great eyes of the 20th century. With a big thank you to the Academy Film Archive and Jennifer Bass, tonight’s program includes the lecture documentary Bass on Titles, a selection of Bass’ rare commercials, excerpts from his industrial films, The Searching Eye (created for the 1964 World’s Fair), his beloved pull-out-all-stops Why Man Creates, and more! Plus, Saul Bass’ assistant editor Michael Lonzo and legendary title designer/Bass contemporary Pablo Ferro will be at the Cinefamily in person to speak on the subject of Bass’s cultural influence!

JUST ADDED: the evening also includes a live panel on the work of Saul Bass, featuring Pablo Ferro (title designer/Bass contemporary) and Michael Lonzo (Bass’s assistant editor on many classic ‘60s title seqences!)

Archival film materials courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Saul Bass On Film”!

Watch Saul Bass’s opening credits from “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World”!
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Watch excerpts from “Why Man Creates”!
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