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Phase IV

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Director: Saul Bass
1974 / 84min / DCP

The one and only feature film directed by Bass, the designer whose title sequences offered strikingly modern thematic encapsulations of films by Preminger, Hitchcock, and others, Phase IV is an ultra-ambitious feat of mind-bending, eye-popping imagist storytelling. Nigel Davenport and Michael Murphy, scientists stationed in the Arizona desert, notice that the local ants are getting a little frisky—and then things get really weird. Bass holds back nothing in his swing-for-the-fences debut, displaying his dynamic visual sense through microphotography and just about any other technique you can think of in a stunner of a film that has garnered comparisons to 2001, generating the same sense of interstellar awe right here on planet Earth.

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