French animated films : La Planète Sauvage (René Laloux, 1973)
English title : Fantastic Planet
Plot : On a mysterious planet named Ygam, the Draags, huge blue red-eyed aliens, raise little pets (humans) which they nicknamed Oms and whom they believe to be of subpar intelligence. Terr was born of a human mother killed by his future owner for sport and amusement. His life as captive and jester is going to take an unexpected turn when he finds an opportunity to learn some of the Draag’s scientific knowledge… Can he rescue his own race from this state of slavery and indignity ?
Why you should see it :
- Won the Special Jury Price at the Cannes Festival in 1973. It was influential in the development of animated art films and the idea that animation wasn’t necessarily made for a kid audience.
- The art style is pretty out there ! You have Roland Topor to thank for that, it’s really one unique-looking movie. Add to that Alain’s Goraguer progressive rock arrangements and it makes for an extremely surreal, psychedelic 70’s atmosphere. It’s weird and relaxing at the same time.
- Not all of the movie is animated due to budget constraints, at some points it’s more of a quick succession of still images which tells the story. Nonetheless the animated parts are very good and quite original ; René Laloux found inspiration in paper theater and puppetry to make his characters move. These are nifty little techniques you don’t see much in animation anymore but they still have their charm.
- Adapted from Oms en Série, a novel by renowned french sci-fi author Stefan Wul. I would strongly recommand both movie and book to anyone who liked Planet of the Apes. The two novels have often been compared though Wul takes the same basic idea and expands it in other directions.