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French film poster.
|Directed by||René Laloux|
|Produced by||Simon Damiani
|Written by||René Laloux
|Based on||Oms en série
by Stefan Wul
|Music by||Alain Goraguer|
|Editing by||Dick Elliott
|Distributed by||Argos Films|
|Release dates||6 December 1973|
|Running time||72 minutes|
Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, lit. The Wild Planet) is a 1973 cutout stop motion science fiction allegorical film directed by René Laloux, production designed by Roland Topor, written by both of them and animated at Jiří Trnka Studio. The film was an international production between France and Czechoslovakia and was distributed in the United States by Roger Corman. It won the special jury prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. The story is based on the novel Oms en série, by the French writer Stefan Wul. A working title for the film while it was in development was Sur la planète Ygam (On the Planet Ygam). The film had a total of 809,945 admissions in France.
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The film depicts a future in which human beings, known as "Oms" (a homonym of the French-language word hommes, meaning men), are creatures on the Traags' home planet. The Traags are an alien species which is humanoid in shape but a hundred times larger than humans and they live much longer than human beings. Although some Oms are domesticated as pets, they are seen as pests and are periodically exterminated.
A group of Traag children accidentally kill an Om woman during play. Unfortunately her death leaves an orphaned infant, who is taken in by an adult Traag as a pet for his child, Tiva. Tiva’s father just happens to be master Sinh, the Traag great Aedile and after some time, when the child and pet are playing, they surprise him and several of his compatriots during a ritual melding session. It is revealed that many Traag children have Oms like Tiva's.
The bond created between the Traag child, Tiva, and the Om, named Terr (word play on the French word Terre, meaning Earth) deepens as time passes by. Tiva's education is supplied by the use of a headset that transmits knowledge directly into the brain of the user. Because she enjoys having Terr in her hand when she is having her "infos," Terr begins to acquire the Traag knowledge. Terr begins to realize who and what he is, and escapes, taking the headset with him.
He eventually finds other Oms and after some tribulation, is accepted into a tribe. Over the next several scenes, it is shown how the Oms have adapted to life on the Traags' planet. One day, the now-literate Oms reads a new sign on one of the walls, and learns the park is about to be "de-Omized." The de-Omizing is accomplished using disks that release a poison gas. A great many Oms perish from this gas, but a sizable number still manage to escape.
The Oms retaliate and manage to kill one of their Traag attackers. The death of the Traag puts the Council in an uproar. De-Omizing is stepped up to a much higher priority, new technologies are developed, and extermination frequency greatly increases.
Fatalities resulting from Traag attempts to de-Omize are minimized by the creation and organized use of shelters, but the Traags' updated technologies become ever more aggressive, and when an automated scout detects the persistent Om settlement, it summons an array of lethal devices. The Oms launch manned rockets toward the Fantastic Planet, where they discover headless humanoid statues. As Traag meditation bubbles descend to alight atop the statues, the statues begin to dance. This is the secret that animates the statues and allows the Traags to reproduce. When the feet of the dancing statues threaten the rockets, the Oms use disintegration weapons to shatter the statues, which in turn makes thousands of meditative Traag go insane. Pandemonium reigns in the Council chamber, for it seems the two species will destroy one another if they cannot find a way to live together. While the Traag council continues to think of revenge, it is proposed that the two species finally create peace between each other.
The last scene proves that peace has been made as an Om steps down off an outstretched Traag hand, removes his silly hat and assumes a posture of confidence and self-assertion.
- Jennifer Drake as Tiva (voice)
- Eric Baugin as Terr (voice)
- Jean Topart as Master Sinh (voice)
- Jean Valmont as adult Terr and the commentator (voice)
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The film is chiefly noted for its surreal imagery, the work of French writer and artist Roland Topor. The landscape of the Traag planet is full of strange creatures, including a cackling predator which traps small fluttering animals in its cage-like nose, shakes them to death and hurls them to the ground. The Traag practice of meditation, whereby they commune psychically with each other and with different species, is shown in transformations of their shape and colour.
The interaction of science and superstition is most apparent in the Wizard, who resists the knowledge that Terr brings, fearing it will erode the power he maintains. Knowledge trumps ignorance, but in this case only after surviving an attempted assassination.
Terr's drive to share knowledge overpowers the fear of an unknown people. Only his courage to save others not of his adopted tribe allows that tribe to overcome the loss of their leader.
The Traags and Oms finally learn to live in peace and mutual benefit; presumably any groups can if they and their leaders really want to. This may have been a theme favoured by the filmmakers as it was made and released during the Cold War (the source novel was first published in 1957).
- Deshominisation (II)
- Deshominisation (I)
- Le Bracelet
- Ten et Tiwa
- Maquillage de Tiwa
- Course de Ten
- Ten et Medor
- Ten et Tiwa Dormet
- Ten est Assome
- Conseil des Draags
- Les Hommes – La Grande Co-existence
- La Femme
- Mira et Ten
- Morte de Draag
- La Cite des Hommes Libres
- Attaque des Robots
- La Longue Marche – Valse Des Statues
- Les Fusees
- Strip Tease
- Meditation des Enfants
- La Vielle Meurt
- Burnt-in English subtitles on Anchor Bay's USA DVD release spell the name of the blue-skinned species as "Draag"; the original novel the film is based on spells it as "Traag".
- In 2006, Eureka Entertainment released the film on DVD in the UK as #34 in their Masters of Cinema range. Unlike the Anchor Bay release, this uses an anamorphic widescreen transfer and newly translated subtitles which retain the "Draag" spelling. This version was released in Region 1 on October 23, 2007. In August 2010, Eureka released a restored high-definition transfer of the film on Blu-ray Disc, with special features including a collection of Laloux's short films, and a 27-minute documentary called Laloux sauvage. Eureka, a London-based company, has only produced the edition as a region B release.
- On October 23, 2007 Facets Video and Accent Cinema released a newly restored version of the film on DVD, including many bonus features never available before. It is different from the version released by Eureka.
RTV (Retro Television Network) ran "Fantastic Planet" on January 2, 2011, as part of its "Offbeat Cinema" presentation originally aired in Buffalo, NY by WKBW-TV, channel 7. "Fantastic Planet" appeared at least once in the 1980s on USA Network's Night Flight weekend program. In the United Kingdom and Ireland it has been shown on the Sky Arts channel and has been available on demand via the Sky Anytime service.
References in other works
Madlib cites the film as an influence, using visuals from the film on his album covers and samples of the soundtrack on his songs. The song "Come On Feet", on his album The Unseen, contains many samples from the movie, including the recurring melody of the main theme.
- "La Planète Sauvage (Fantasic Planet) @ BCDB". BCDB. 2012-11-16.
- "Festival de Cannes: Fantastic Planet". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- Stephenson, Ralph (1967). "15. Filmographies". In Peter Cowie. Animation in the Cinema. International Film Guide. London: A. Zwemmer. p. 173.
- Stones Throw Records