Fantastic Planet

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For the album by Failure, see Fantastic Planet (album).
Fantastic Planet
Fantstic-planet-poster.jpg
French film poster.
Directed by René Laloux
Produced by Anatole Dauman
Simon Damiani
Andre Valio-Cavaglione
Written by René Laloux
Roland Topor
Based on Oms en série 
by Stefan Wul
Music by Alain Goraguer
Cinematography Boris Baromykin
Lubomir Rejthar
Edited by Dick Elliott
Rich Harrison
Distributed by Argos Films
Release dates
6 December 1973
Running time
72 minutes
Country
  • France
  • Czechoslovakia
Language French

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.[1] 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.[2] 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).[3] The film had a total of 809,945 admissions in France.[4]

In the English-dubbed version, the title "Fantastic Planet" apparently refers to the small moon of a much-larger planet, though most of the story takes place on the latter. "Savage Planet" seems a better description of the mother planet itself.


Plot[edit]

In an unimaginably distant future, human beings scrape for survival as a feral race—the Oms—on the world of the gargantuan humanoid Draags. While Draags sometimes make pets of Oms, they see them too as vermin that must be periodically controlled.

The story opens with a group of Draag children teasing an Om mother to death during play.

Her orphaned infant is rescued by Master Sinh, an adult Draag and an important leader. Sinh gives the child to his daughter Tiva, who names the baby Terr (a play on the French Terre, meaning Earth).

While Terr is still a child, Master Sinh scolds Tiva for not keeping better tabs on Terr when he interrupts an important meeting. Sinh solves the problem by locking a tracking collar around Terr's neck, which can be retrieved—along with Terr, no matter where he goes—using a special bracelet he gives to Tiva.

Draag children are educated by special earphones that transmit knowledge directly into their minds in “info” sessions. Tiva likes to pet Terr in her hands during her sessions, but a defect in Terr’s collar allows him to eavesdrop on Tiva's lessons.

As Terr grows into manhood, he learns who and what he is, and a great deal about Draags themselves. Terr escapes, stealing Tiva's earphones. When Tiva tries to fetch Terr back with the bracelet, a wild female Om frees Terr by cutting free the collar.

She helps Terr drag the earphones to her tribe in their meeting hall, who ridicule Terr for his domestication and Draag costume. But they conditionally accept him after Terr warns about a lethal Draag trap hidden in their midst. From then on Terr learns about wild Om society, and how to survive on a world dominated by the Draags and a hostile ecosystem.

In return Terr shows them how to use Tiva's earphones to acquire knowledge and literacy. They are then able to read an announcement of an impending "de-Omization" of the Draag park (the home range of the wild Oms). The Oms prepare best they can, but many still die.

When a Draag casually stomps some of the fleeing Oms, the tribe retaliates. For the first time in Draag history a Draag is killed by Oms. With the death of the chieftain, the new Om leader, a wise old woman and a former enemy chieftain, leads them to an abandoned Draag rocket depot.

Safe for now, the Oms restore and miniaturize Draag machinery, and begin constructing two rockets. They plan to use the rockets to flee the Draag world and discover the secret of the Draag world’s moon (the Fantastic Planet) and perhaps there begin a new life.

During a last-ditch de-Omization by the Draags, the tribe flees on the rockets to the Fantastic Planet. There they discover how the Draags reproduce, and the secret behind the Draags' voyages in their meditation spheres. The colossal headless statues they find imply an ancient co-dependence between Draags and Oms, but their vulnerability pose a sudden existential crisis for the Draags. The Draags have no choice but to sue for peace with the now powerful Oms, and come to realize that humans are hardly vermin, and deserve equal partnership in the Draag planetary system.

Cast[edit]

Themes[edit]

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.

It is considered one of the first examples of film which introduce the theme of speciesism.

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).

Soundtrack[edit]

The music was composed by Alain Goraguer.[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. Deshominisation (II)
  2. Deshominisation (I)
  3. Generique
  4. Le Bracelet
  5. Ten et Tiwa
  6. Maquillage de Tiwa
  7. Course de Ten
  8. Ten et Medor
  9. Ten et Tiwa Dormet
  10. Ten est Assome
  11. Abite
  12. Conseil des Draags
  13. Les Hommes – La Grande Co-existence
  14. La Femme
  15. Mira et Ten
  16. Morte de Draag
  17. L'Oiseau
  18. La Cite des Hommes Libres
  19. Attaque des Robots
  20. La Longue Marche – Valse Des Statues
  21. Les Fusees
  22. Generique
  23. Strip Tease
  24. Meditation des Enfants
  25. La Vielle Meurt

Video releases[edit]

  • 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.

Televised airings[edit]

RTV (Retro Television Network) ran "Fantastic Planet" on January 2, 2011, as part of its Off Beat 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[edit]

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.[6]

The band Failure named its third full-length album after the film.

In the movie The Cell, Jennifer Lopez's character Catherine Deane watches the movie on her bedroom television.

Music from Fantastic Planet is sampled in "Insomniak" by Mac Miller, "Chrysalis" by The Underachievers, "Boomerang" by Big Pun and "Don't do drugs kids" by Flatbush Zombies.

Flying Lotus explains that he drew inspiration from the film when producing the track “Your Potential/The Beyond” from the album You're Dead!, .[7]

Scenes from the film are used by The Gaslamp Killer for the music video "Shattering Inner Journeys"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "La Planète Sauvage (Fantasic Planet) @ BCDB". BCDB. 2012-11-16. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Fantastic Planet". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  3. ^ Stephenson, Ralph (1967). "15. Filmographies". In Peter Cowie. Animation in the Cinema. International Film Guide. London: A. Zwemmer. p. 173. 
  4. ^ La Planète sauvage
  5. ^ La Planete Sauvage Soundtrack ]
  6. ^ Stones Throw Records
  7. ^ Flying Lotus Provides A Track-By-Track Breakdown Of You're Dead!

External links[edit]