Tag Archive | "paris"

This is the End of the Movie.

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This is the End of the Movie.


film titles 01

Here’s something different. There’s a flickr pool out there called The End, which collects all the end title screens from about 500 different films. Many of these are by necessity classic ones, since most modern films don’t often feature such a firm close–it went out of style, likely seen as a formal holdover from literature, from a time when films still weren’t accepted as a valid art form unto themselves.

Some filmmakers still use the device, of course, but it’s largely ironic. Last year’s great Ratatouille, for example, used it, but it was the famous French ‘fin’, which suited the movie perfectly, while standing out more as a nod to Paris and the idea of french-ness than any kind of homage to a filmmaking tradition.

film titles 02

There’s something about seeing all these titles in one place–it’s like repeating a favourite word over and over again until it loses its original meaning, and then suddenly ‘The End’ seems an entirely strange thing to say at the end of a film, too unnatural, overly obvious–a world of typographic artifacts we didn’t know existed until the strange ways of the internet brought them to us.

film titles 03

The end screen of The Man With the Golden Arm, done by Saul Bass, is a true classic (although it does make me think of Anatomy of a Murder, also done by him), and anyone interested in one of the most unique and talented film titlers and illustrators of the 20th century would do well to find some of his work. For anyone interested in typography, he was simply the best title designer around, and could do wondrous things with minimalistic animation and good type: just look at these examples plus some classic title videos below.

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Posted in Art & Design, PeopleComments (0)

Rediscovering Miroslav Sasek and his Wonderful Children’s Books

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Rediscovering Miroslav Sasek and his Wonderful Children’s Books


sasek top

For some reason I’ve been seeing a lot of mention of Miroslav Sasek around various websites recently. What he’s primarily known for is the series of books called This Is…, which provide a children’s introduction to various cities, but also work as charming guidebooks/introductions to readers of any age.

His idea came from noticing that parents, when on various trips with their children, tended to stay absorbed in their various surroundings, leaving the kids to figure out exactly what the hell is going on for themselves. Writing from a child’s point of view, his books please everyone through sheer charm alone. The illustrations explain, from the first time you see them, exactly why these books aren’t just pedestrian stuff for your kids, but rather bewitching illustrative glimpses of each city they profile.

Some thoughts from his official website:

This is London is the second This is book and undoubtedly one of the best. Sasek concentrates on the things he likes best: people, costume, transport and local details that somehow come together to form a whole impression of the city that still seems quite accurate today.

sasek cities

Here’s a review of one of his titles from no less than the Times Literary Supplement:

The pattern of M. Sasek’s books is now firmly established. It would be difficult for him to introduce innovations, and these would not be welcomed by his admirers, who delight in the fixed conventions of his unconventional portraits. It is the more remarkable that each book is pure Sasek and at the same time each catches the characteristic atmosphere of his subject…

This is Venice has many of the artist’s gentle digs at tourists and at the vendors who feed on them. It shows, too, that M. Sasek is primarily an architectural draughtsman. His drawings of churches, palaces and odd corners are brilliant simplifications which never depart from the essential truths of building. That he draws buildings not in noble isolation but surrounded by the mess and muddle of a living city — washing on the line, telly-aerials on the roof — endears him more deeply to the reader.

His art style renders the cities immensely appealing to every reader, and these are some books that you’d do fine getting any kids or travelers in your family this year. His images are funny, and poke at the gawking tourists and the general things touristy families like to do (or feel terribly obligated to do) in each city.

He also did some other books not entirely focused on cities but sites, including This is the United Nations and This is Cape Canaveral (now called Kennedy), which are gold mines. Check out his great UN book here, and the Cape Canaveral image below.

sasek florida

While it’s only November, it’s always useful to collect various links in the endless lead-up to Christmas, in case you need some ideas for thoughtful, interesting gifts. As each Christmas passes, I always find myself increasingly obliged to find gifts for various kids in my extended family, and since I don’t have much experience with toy stores any more, and can’t buy children’s clothes to save my life, I generally try to find gifts that seem timelessly appealing and unique enough to mean something. Sasek’s books fit perfectly into this category. They’ll thrill any parent too.

Posted in Art & Design, Featured, LivingComments (0)


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