This vintage movie poster is for the short film Quest.
Over the years, Elaine and Saul often discussed making a film about human potential. An opportunity presented itself when a Japanese Cultural Organization called the Mokichi Okada Association (MOA) invited the couple to develop a film for its art museum in Atami City, which would express the groups guiding principles.
The association, founded in 1980 supported holistic regeneration - spiritual and physical, individual and collective - through its own organic farms and holistic clinics, and advocated an end to inequalities. As contemporary organizations go, Okada was guided by unusual Prinicples, the cardinal ones being Truth, Beauty, Organic Processes and Light.
Saul and Elaine asked their old friend, the celebrated science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, to collaborate on the script. Saul and Ray had often talked about taking on a project together, and Quest seemed like the perfect movie. Still, Saul maintained his habit of talking through key issues with Elaine, who's sensibility resonates throughout.
The poster features images taken from the narrative journey in the film, set in a world at once archaic and post-apocalyptic, where human life-span is limited to 8 days. Periodically, men are trained and make an attempt to 'open the gate' that will extend their lifespans. But they age too quickly, and die before they can make it. The emissary must begin as a young person. Finally, a young boy successfully travels beyond the world of 8 day lives, to a place where life is lived for 20,000 days or more. The 8 stages of the journey correspond to the 8 days of his expected life. Our hero breaches the gates that lead to a sunny verdant place. The quest is over. The nurturing and healing light of the sun has been found, and a normal life-span is bestowed on his people.
Much of the power in the film comes from images of pure form - caves, stone labyrinths, vast rocky landscapes - created almost entirely within the limited confines of a 50x150 ft sound stage. The single outdoor sequence, when the hero plunges through the gate into a verdant field, was shot in Malibu, on the only patch of green the bases could find during a particularly scorching summer.
Saul stated: "I have always been interested in the primeval physicality of life, the endlessly eternal. The stuff that is so atavistic in character that it is fascinating and compelling - sand, sun, fire, water, birds. Forms that are always what they are in general, but never the same in particular. Endless variety within a framework of an eternal form. Light is another one. We have a mysterious relationship to the idea of light."
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