Fantastic Planet

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For the album by Failure, see Fantastic Planet (album). For the safari park, see Planete Sauvage (safari park).
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. The story, which shows humans living on a strange planet dominated by giant humanoid aliens who consider them animals, is based on the novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul.

A working title for the film while it was in development was Sur la planète Ygam (On the Planet Ygam),[2] which is where most of the story takes place, but the actual title (the Fantastic/Savage Planet) is the name of Ygam's moon. The film won the special jury prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.[3] It had a total of 809,945 admissions in France.[4]

Plot[edit]

In the distant future, the gargantuan blue humanoid Draags have brought human beings (who are called Oms as a play on the French word for "man", Homme) from Earth to the planet Ygam, where they maintain a technologically and spiritually advanced society. They consider them animals, and while some Oms are kept as pets by Draags, others live in the strange wilderness and are periodically slaughtered by the Draags who wish to keep their population controlled. Draags have much longer lifespans than Oms, but reproduce much less.

When an Om mother is teased to death by three Draag children, her orphaned infant is found by Master Sinh, a key Draag leader, and his daughter Tiva, who keeps the boy as a pet and names him Terr. She loves Terr and is careful not to hurt him, but, instructed by her parents, keeps him under control, for example by giving him a collar that can pull him in any direction at Tiva's wish. She brings Terr to sessions in which she receives her education using headphones that transmit knowledge into her mind, and a defect in his collar allows him to receive the knowledge too. Around the time that Tiva grows into her teens and first performs Draag meditation, which allows the species to travel with their minds, she loses some interest in Terr, who has become a young man by now and acquired much Draag knowledge. He escapes into the wilderness, stealing Tiva's headphones.

He runs into a wild female Om, who cuts of his collar and introduces him to her tribe, which lives in an abandoned Draag park full of strange creatures and landscapes. He shows them how to use the headphones to acquire Draag knowledge and literacy, winning the right to do so in a duel. The literacy they gain allows them to read Draag writing announcing that the park will be purged of Oms, and when the purge comes, many are slaughtered by Draag technology while many others escape, joining forces with another tribe. They are attacked by two Draag passer-bys and manage to kill one of them before escaping to an abandoned Draag rocket depot, much to the outrage of Draag leaders. They live there for years, joined by many other Oms, and due to the knowledge acquired from Terr's headphones manage to adapt Draag technology, including two rockets; they hope to leave Ygam for its moon, the Fantastic Planet, and live there safe from Draags. When a large-scale Draag purge hits the depot and many Oms are being slaughtered, a group of Oms led by Terr uses the rockets to flee to the Fantastic Planet, where they discover large statues that Draags travel to during meditation and use to meet beings from other galaxies in a strange ritual that maintains their species. The Oms destroy some of the statues, threatening the Draags' existence; the genocide is halted on Ygam, and facing a crisis, the Draags sue for peace. This leads to an era of peaceful coexistence between the two species, who now benefit from each other's way of thinking.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Jean Valmont as adult Terr and the narrator
  • Eric Baugin as Terr as a boy
  • Jennifer Drake as Tiva
  • Jean Topart as Master Sinh

Themes[edit]

Fantastic Planet is recognisable for its surreal, psychedelic imagery, created by French writer and artist Roland Topor, who was the production designer and co-writer of the film. The landscape and lifeforms of Ygam are extremely strange, as are various aspects of Draag society, such as their meditation (which allows them to commune psychically with each other and different species and can lead to transformations of their shape and colour) and their technology (for example the various devices they use to slaughter Oms). The weird atmosphere of the film is enhanced by its soundtrack, composed by Alain Goraguer.

The relationship between Draags and Oms, which changes completely through the events of the film, can be seen as allegorical of the relationship between various groups of humans, as well as between humans and animals, drawing on the themes of racism and speciesism (supported by the final scene, in which a Draag child from the future is learning about the peace between Draags and Oms, while stroking a dog-like pet animal where Draag children would once have stroked a pet Om). In the film, it is the knowledge that Terr gains and brings to the Oms that allows them to become equals with the Draags, and Terr has to win a duel to prove that it is not wrong to use it. The ending, in which the violence is suddenly stopped and an era of peace begins, with both Draags and Oms deciding they have nothing to gain from mutual destruction, carries a hopeful message relevant to the Cold War period in which the film and its source novel were created.

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. ^ Stephenson, Ralph (1967). "15. Filmographies". In Peter Cowie. Animation in the Cinema. International Film Guide. London: A. Zwemmer. p. 173. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Fantastic Planet". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  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]