Laure Chapalain is a freelance graphic designer and guest lecturer teaching history of title sequence at Gobelins, l’école de l’image (School of applied arts, print and digital media).

“How could we bring the many title creators to light if the most famous one is ignored?”

Seven, 1995

Let’s get to work!

Here are a few lines I read in an article titled “Music video festival”, on French flagship cinema website:

“... when it comes to use his talent for rock band A Perfect Circle, Fincher proceeds with the cinematic codes he experimented on “Seven”: scratched film, jumping image, warm lights, sweltering atmosphere...”

These lines speak volumes about the little recognition title creators get. These well-­‐ known codes do appear in Fincher’s film, but only in the opening sequence, directed by title genius Kyle Cooper. How could we bring the many title creators to light if the most famous one is ignored?

This opening sequence, released in 1995, has radically transformed the history of motion design. Creating this sequence, Kyle Cooper broke up with the heritage from the tops title sequence designers: Saul Bass, Pablo Ferro and Maurice Binder. At the time, his contemporaries make very beautiful titles where essence and simplicity prevail. Cooper invents an incredibly complex short film, both very actual and paying tribute to his peers (Stephen Frankfurt with “To kill a mockingbird” and Stan Brakhage, an experimental director).

Nobody has ever seen such an UFO in films. He signs the renewal of title sequence and still imposes his mark today.

This aesthetics of scratched film, fuzziness, overlaid and jumping shots with warm colors, remind of the music video for “Closer”, directed by Mark Romanek for Nine Inch Nails in 1994. For that matter, this song is the film soundtrack.
All this does not make David Fincher any less talented, but as for the music video he directed for A Perfect Circle, he did not draw his inspiration from his own universe but from Kyle Cooper’s.