Friday, May 19, 2017
2017 Cannes Marathon: Fantastic Planet
(Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival)
Based on the novel Oms en serie by Stefan Wul, La Planete Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) is the story of a planet where humans are enslaved by giant blue aliens as they revolt against their oppressors. Directed by Rene Laloux and screenplay by Laloux and Roland Topor, the film is an animated film set into a sci-fi world as it comments on the political and social turmoil of the world. Featuring the voices of Jennifer Drake, Eric Baugin, Jean Topart, and Jean Valmont as the film’s narrator. La Planete Sauvage is a ravishing and haunting film from Rene Laloux.
Set in a planet where giant blue aliens enslave tiny humans as pets, the film revolves around a human who would escape from his master and eventually lead a revolt against the aliens. It’s a film with a simple premise as it is largely told by this young man who has been kept as a pet for this blue alien until being neglected when she becomes a teen. However, the man known as Terr (Jean Valmont) would gain a lot of intelligence through a headphone his master Tiva (Jennifer Drake) would use to learn about her world. He would eventually take it and meet up with a female human as she would take him to her tribe where he’s reluctantly allowed to be in the clan despite the misgivings of its chief. Terr would also be the catalyst for rival human tribes to band together and revolt against the blue aliens who have tried to get rid of the humans only to see what the outcome is as the film definitely carries some political and social allegories as it relates to the plight of these humanoids known as Oms.
Rene Laloux’s direction is definitely stylish not just due to its animation style but also for the usage of surrealism in some of the drawings. With co-writer Roland Topor doing some of the drawings with Josef Krabt creating the look of all of the characters, Laloux’s direction definitely has something that is indescribable in the way these characters look as well as the situation they’re in. The moments that relate to what these aliens known as the Draags do are definitely strange yet whimsical to showcase how they meditate and build their civilization. Much of the film is told from Terr’s perspective as he is also its narrator as the direction also has Laloux create some unique compositions and imagery. Especially in the setting thanks in part to the contributions of scene animator Josef Vana as well as the lighting schemes by cinematographers Boris Baromykin and Lubomir Rejthar. Laloux’s direction also has these moments in the animation that are chilling but also mesmerizing for the way it play into the mysteries of the universe. Overall, Laloux crafts a hypnotic and eerie film about a group of humans standing up against their gigantic blue alien oppressors.
Editors Helene Arnal and Marta Lalalova do excellent work with the editing with its usage of jump-cuts and other stylish cuts to play into the action. The sound work of Robert Pouret is fantastic for the sound effects and mixes that play into the action and sci-fi elements of the film. The film’s music by Alain Goraguer is brilliant for its mixture of funk, jazz, and orchestral music as it play into the bits of sci-fi but also into the action as it’s a major highlight of the film.
The film’s incredible voice cast feature some notable small roles from Jean Topart and Gerard Hernandez as a couple of Draag leaders who often discuss what they should do while Jennifer Drake is wonderful as Terr’s old master Tiva who is this blue alien that would care for him until she becomes a teenager. The voice performances of Eric Baugin and Jean Valmont in their respective roles as the younger and older versions of Terr is amazing for the way it expresses a boy dealing with his surroundings as well as using the knowledge he’s gained to deal with the Draags.
La Planete Sauvage is a phenomenal film from Rene Laloux. Featuring some gorgeous visuals in the animation as well as a compelling story and a ripping film score, it’s a film that play into the world where aliens are the alpha and humans are their slave and what it can do to cause chaos in the world. In the end, La Planete Sauvage is a spectacular film from Rene Laloux.
© thevoid99 2017