Fantastic Planet (La Planete Sauvage) (4 stars)

Fantastic Planet (La Planete Sauvage)

(PG) 72min
(Eureka/Masters of Cinema)

Previously unavailable on DVD, René Laloux’s 1973 animated sci-fi feature is a startling rediscovery. Based on Stefan Wul’s 1957 novel Oms by the Dozen, Laloux’s extraordinary film is a kind of Swiftian counterpart to the surreal anarchy of Czech animator Jan Svankmajer’s greatest work, and in some way certainly seems to prefigure the work of Hayao Miyazaki at Studio Ghibli (politically, culturally, technologically and experimentally).

Detailing the plight of ‘Oms’, human-like creatures kept as domesticated pets by an alien race of blue giants called ‘Draags’, the story takes place on the Draags’ planet Ygam, where we follow our film’s narrator is an Om called Terr who manages to escape enslavement and begins to organise an Om revolt. Thought at the time to be an allegorical statement on the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, Fantastic Planet features some really amazing work by legendary French illustrator and painter Roland Topor and Alain Goraguer’s breathtaking much sampled (by the hip-hop community) score. Extras include Laloux shorts and 28-page booklet featuring a new essay.

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