Pablo (Breaking Glass Pictures, NR)

pablo dvdHe migrated to New York with his family, learned animation from a book, and began working for a company that made commercials.

 

 

You may not have heard of Pablo Ferro, but if you go to the movies, you’ve almost certainly seen his work. Ferro is perhaps the most distinctive title designer since Saul Bass, and has worked on films from Dr. Strangelove (1964) to Men in Black 3 (2012), and including works as diverse as Bullitt (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Bound for Glory (1976), Beetlejuice (1988), Devil in a Blue Dress (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997), and Napoleon Dynamite (2004). He did the first NBC peacock animation, created presentations for the New York World’s Fair, and pioneered the use of split-screen montages in film with The Thomas Crown Affair.

Pablo, directed by Richard Goldgewicht, is a celebration of Ferro’s life and work. If you’re interested in the history of the movies, or in animation, this film is a must-see. Even if you have only a layperson’s interest in film, it’s still worth seeing because Ferro is a total character and Goldgewicht captures his spirit on film (aided by a sometimes tongue-in-cheek script narrated by Jeff Bridges and some lively animations) while also giving you an appreciation of his work (ever wonder why he used that super-skinny font for the title sequence of Dr. Strangelove? You’ll find out in this documentary).

Ferro’s personal story is the classic American dream. Born in Cuba in 1935, he migrated to New York with his family, learned animation from a book, and began working for a company that made commercials. Many industry professionals appear in interviews, with the best line going to Norman Jewison, who says that Ferro didn’t make titles; he made little movies.

At the same time, Ferro wasn’t exactly an all work and no play type of guy. He liked parties and drugs and beautiful women, and seems to have denied himself nothing in those regards, which led to the breakup of his marriage and eventually the loss of his house. Fortunately, he seems to have maintained an upbeat attitude (exemplified by the jaunty red scarf that seems to be part of his daily wardrobe) in bad times as in good, and his family is both cohesive and forgiving, so now he lives on his son’s property and continues to work.

Extras on the DVD include a commentary track with the director Richard Goldgewicht and producer Jeremy Goldscheider, deleted scenes, promotional materials, animation test footage, shorts on title design and on the art of Rene Magritte, a photo gallery, and several trailers. | Sarah Boslaugh

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