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DVD Review: Forget the Film, Watch the Titles!

Graphic designers, animators and other filmmaking creatives will undoubtedly be delighted by this modest documentary from Submarine Channel, which showcases the varied and endlessly creative techniques of title design. There was a time when title sequences were treated strictly as a utilitarian device, a visual delivery system to satisfy a contractual requirement. These days, the work that goes into creating some of the most innovative title sequences rivals the film itself. And let’s be honest; sometimes, it’s the only good thing to come out of it. (See: almost every romcom ever made).

Watch the Titles is an intimate look at this thriving specialty and introduces us to some of the brilliant and quirky minds (almost all European… Take that, Hollywood!) behind this ever-changing industry, shining a light on a wide range of clever narrative techniques. They include traditional methods of photography and filmmaking, fun and clever prop work, illustration and animation, balls-to-the-walls computer graphic imaging and even large-scale crop art (freaking awesome!). The documentary portion of this 2-DVD set is a collection of interviews with 9 of the leading title designers working today, and the companion disc contains 38 visually stunning title sequences (mostly European films) to appropriately blow your mind.

The film’s website (which is frequently updated) also features a total of 163 awesome title sequences from films all over the world, including some of my personal faves (Se7en, Juno, City Slickers… and I will assume the omission of Catch Me If You Can is due to resistance from the licensing mercenaries over at DreamWorks).

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