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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|
|Edited by||Dick Elliott
|Distributed by||Argos Films|
|Release dates||6 December 1973|
|Running time||72 minutes|
Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, lit. The Savage 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.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (August 2014)|
The film depicts a future in which human beings, known as "Oms" (a homonym of the French-language word Hommes, meaning humans), are creatures on the Draags' home planet. The Draags 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 Draag children accidentally kill an Om woman during play. Her orphaned infant is taken in by an adult Draag as a pet for his child, Tiva. Tiva’s father just happens to be master Sinh, the Draag great Aedile and various scenes depict the Council chamber, their advanced technology and organization of Draag society. Many scenes illustrate the fantastic ecosystem, stretching the imagination of what is possible in the universe.
It is revealed that many Draag children have Oms like Tiva's. The bond created between the Draag 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 Draag knowledge. Terr begins to realize who and what he is, and escapes, taking the headset with him.
He eventually finds a civilization of wild 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 Draags' planet. Tiva's headset and acquired knowledge gives the Om population literacy. After staging an impromptu resistance, the Oms discover they are going to be "de-Omized." A great many Oms perish but a sizable number manages to escape.
Fatalities resulting from Draag attempts to de-Omize are minimized by the creation and organized use of shelters, but the Draags' updated technologies become ever more aggressive. The Oms reverse engineer Draag rockets and launch a manned mission toward the Fantastic Planet. They discover the greatest weakness of the Draag species: the secret to their method of reproduction. This critical point in the war between Draags and Oms presents a hard decision for the Draags, to choose peace or war.
- 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)
||This article possibly contains original research. (August 2008)|
The film is chiefly noted for its surreal imagery, the work of French writer and artist Roland Topor. The landscape of the Draag 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 Draag 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 Draags 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
- La Planète sauvage at the Internet Movie Database
- La Planète Sauvage at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- La Planète sauvage at AllMovie
- Links to further resources
- Link to Masters Of Cinema