La Planète sauvage (1973)

France, Czechoslovakia,
71m, 6383 feet
35mm film, Eastmancolor
mono, French

A French/Czech animated science fiction film directed by René Laloux.

Plot Summary

On a distant planet the giant blue Draags keep the humanoid Oms as pets an slaves. But the Oms have had enough and are preparing to revolt…

Credits

Crew
Director: René Laloux
Les Films Armorial, Service de Recherche ORTF, Ceskoslovensky Filmexport
Producer: Simon Damiani, André Valio-cavaglione
Production Manager: Vaclav Strnad
Script: René Laloux, Roland Topor
Original Novel: Stefan Wul
Photography: Lubomir Rejthar, Boris Baromykin
Drawings: Lidia Cardat, Renata Celbova, Dana Drabova, Viktoria Kolarikova, Helena Najdrovska, Alena Pokorna, Jarmila Rabanova, Helena Rohauerova, Marcela Schneiderova, Marie Tomaskova, Eva Udrzalova
Character Animation: Josef Kábrt
Background Animation: Josef Vana
Chief Animators: Jindrich Barta, Zdena Bártová, Bohumil Sedja, Zdenék Sob, Karel Strébl, Jiri Vokoum
Editor: Hélène Arnal, Marta Látalová
Original Designs: Roland Topor
Music: Alain Goraguer
Sound Recording: Jean Carrère, René Renault
Sound Background: Jean Guerin
Synchronisation Adviser: Hélène Tossy
Sound Re-recording: Paul Bertault
Sound Effects: Robert Pouret

Cast
Jennifer Drake (Tiwa)
Eric Baugin (young Terr)
Jean Topart (Master Sinh)
Jean Valmont (adult Terr/narrator)
Yves Barsacq (Om)
Gérard Hernandez (Master Taj)
Sylvie Lenoir, Michèle Chahan, Hubert de Lapparent, Claude Joseph, Philippe Ogouz, Jacques Ruisseau, Max Amyl, Denis Boileau, Madeleine Clervannes, William Coryn, Poupy de Monneron, Christian de Tillière, Christian Echelard, Jeanine Forney, Pascal Kominakis, Andre Lambert, Mark Lesser, Serge Netter, Yvette Robin, André Rouyer, Irina Tarason, Julien Thomas, Gilbert Vilhon, Paul Villé (additional voices)

Alternative Titles

Agrios planitis – Greece
Divlji planet – Croatia
Divoká planeta – Czechoslovakia
Dzika planeta – Poland
Fantastic Planet – Japan, UK, USA
Levoton planeetta – Finland
Metsik planeet – Estonia
Der phantastische Planet – West Germany
Il pianeta selvaggio – Italy
O Planeta Selvagem – Portugal
Planeta Fantástico – Brazil
Planeta salbatica – Romania
El planeta salvaje – Argentina, Mexico, Spain
Planeta Selvagem – Brazil (DVD)
The Savage Planet
Sur le planète Ygam – working title
A vad bolygó – Hungary
Den vilda planeten – Sweden
Den ville planeten – Norway
Villi planeetta – Finland (television)
Der wilde Planet – Germany, West German
Άγριος Πλανήτης – Greece
Дикая планета – Russia

Extracts included in
The Cell (2000)
Laloux sauvage (2010)
Animation Lookback: The Best of Stop Motion – The First Features (2014)
Animation Lookback: The Best of Stop Motion – Independent Films (2015)

Press

1973
Variety 16 May 1973 pp.6, 18
Sci-fi feature animation film has some eyecatching graphics and a theme that could well find a way for it at home and abroad. It should capture youthful interest with enough workmanship and inventiveness to entice more adult auds, as well, or make for one that parents would find easy to attend with their offspring. Fine draftsmanship by artist Roland Topor is not as gritty and eerie as some of his earlier animated shorts. […] Ending is portentous but does have an unusual paper cutout animated flair and is gripping most of the way, with usage on tv also indicated. It would need careful handling holding its own in first-run abroad, but specialized usage is indicated plus the underlining that animation can do a lot with serious themes, especially sci-fi. – from a review by Mosk

1974
Cinefantastique vol.3 no.3 (Autumn 1974) p.31
The style of the film should not be unfamiliar at least to those who have seen Laloux and Topr's earlier films Les temps morts (1964) and Les escargots (1965). Fantastic Planet fuses two types of animation – the common American method of drawing on acetate cels and the more lavish and detailed method of animating cut and hinged paper, a technique pioneered by Poland's Jan Lenica and others. Fantastic Planet is thus more readily reduced to a comic book medium (i. e. a series of still images) simply because there is less actual movement on the screen( mainly because of the cut-out paper method) than we are used to in our “cartoons”. Consequently, the film seems just a bit too mannered and calm. Linking up with this problem, and also damaging, is the notion that unlike its images, the film's ideas are quite simplistic and too-reflective of its simple story, which amounts to not much more than an outline or a precis. The film too often reduces the fantastic to the known, the mundane, the ordinary. Some ideas are cadged from other sources, like the moving sidewalks have been a staple of Ray Bradbury stories at least since the late forties. Some ideas are simply too naively bald to consider of much value, like Om being the phonetic equivalent of l'homme, the French word for man. Luckily the film is carried and dominated by its wild, untamed and desolate landscapes, many held in beguiling long-shots that carry a sinister quality that is quite effective and very nearly Beckett-ian. The film is also populated by an infinite array of thoroughly strange creatures and flora (and sometimes indistinguishably in-between); all of them are much more interesting in their brief appearances them both the Draags and the Oms put together, like the ball-like creatures who spin clothes for the Oms of the ferocious anti-Om monsters, one of whom has a flypaper snout. The menacing settings and dangerous atmosphere in which the creatures thrive is best typified by the plant that bats down the small flying creatures, mainly the sport, and all the while figgling madly. […] Fantastic Planet may not be a great trip for the mind, but for the eyes, at least, it is a resplendent and strangely sensuous journey” – from an illustrated review by David Bartholomew

Cinema TV Today no.10108 (9 November 1974) p.12
Realistic approach to satirical humour gives this film the rare quality of sophisticated innocence. Like one of the macabre fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm with illustrations by Salvador Dali, it has a surface charm of childlike simplicity masking many layered complexities of symbolism and philosophy. As an escape into fantasy that can be rationalised as a consciousness raising allegory, it is electronic age folklore. – from a review (The new films) by Marjorie Bilbow

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.41 no.491 (December 1974) p.282
Fantastic Planet suggests that the reason Wul has not been widely translated is that his fantasy is rather ordinary stuff, with little to offer that hasn't been digested many times by readers of the s-f magazines. […] [It has] its surprises, in particular with the revelation that the Draags spend their mental energy animating headless statues on another world, and in general with the sometimes ugly, sometimes splendid, Topor sculptures and landscapes. Although the outcome too often strikes one (as it did with Laloux's previous film Les Escargots) as distressingly trivial the encounters with the bizarre flora and fauna of the planet Ygam are frequently appealing – like the sudden plantation of crystalline growths that shatter when whistled at, or the monstrous caged being that laughs hysterically while swatting small pig-like flying creatures into the ground at random. With its abrupt conclusion in utopian harmony (the narrative takes so many short-cuts that one suspects considerable pruning from its original form), Fantastic Planet deserves to be widely enjoyed but seems unlikely to be widely remembered. – from a review by Philip Strick

2006
Sight and Sound vol.16 no.10 (October 2006) p.88
A French-Czechoslovak co-production assembled by animators from the Jirí Trnka Studio who spent five years breathing life into Topor's drawings, it has often been interpreted as a thinly disguised portrait of totalitarian imperialism (and the then recent Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in particular), though the allegory and indeed the primary narrative as a whole are easily the film's least successful aspects. […] The plot of this David and Goliath saga is, to put it mildly, somewhat familiar, and the allegorical trimmings are distinguished largely by their galumphing obviousness, but the bizarre potency of Topor's designs enthrals to this day. Wholly convincing in their visual dream-logic, his landscapes are festooned with unexpected crystalline outcrops and organic eruptions. […] In its thoroughly thought-through evocation of its own peculiar universe, Fantastic Planet ranks alongside Blade Runner, Dune, The Fifth Element and the Jules Verne-inspired fantasies of Karel Zeman. Alain Goraguer's score, blending 1950s musique concrete, 1960s space-age bachelor-pad lounge-core and 1970s wah-wah guitar, should by rights have dated horribly but now seems just as otherworldly as the images. With an animation style based around cut-out elements and camera dissolves, Laloux and his team create a woozily hallucinatory feel that makes one wonder why the Draags devote so much time to bathing their brains in exotic chemicals. – from an illustrated DVD review (Close-up: Out of this world) by Michael Brooke

References

Periodicals

  • Avant-Scène du Cinéma no.149/150 (July/September 1974) pp.3-66 – script
  • Cinefantastique vol.3 no.3 (Autumn 1974) p.31 – illustrated review (by David Bartholomew)
  • Cineforum no.469 (November 2007) pp.84-85 – DVD review (DVD – Laloux: Alla ricerca dei colori del tempo by Mattia Mariotti)
  • Cinéma no.183 (January 1974) pp.128-129 – review
  • Cinema TV Today no.10108 (9 November 1974) p.12 – credits, synopsis, review (The new films by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Cinématographe no.5 (December/January 1973/1974) pp.1-2 – review
  • The Czechoslovak Film no.1 (1974) p.22-23 – review
  • Empire no.208 (October 2006) p.160 – DVD review (At home/Reissues on DVD: Fantastic Planet by Alan Morrison)
  • Film a Doba no.1 (January 1985) p.53 – review
  • Le Film Francais no.1247 (14 June 1968) p.9 (France) – credits
  • Le Film Francais no.1482 (13 April 1973) p.11 (France) – credits
  • Films and Filming vol.21 no.4 (January 1975) pp.37-38 – review
  • Films Illustrated vol.4 no.39 (November 1974) p.86 – review
  • Image et Son no.273 (June/July 1973) pp.107-113 – interview with René Laloux
  • Image et Son no.275 (September 1973) pp.135-7 – review
  • Jeune Cinéma no.75 (December/January 1973/1974) pp.32-34 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.41 no.491 (December 1974) p.282 – credits, synopsis, review (by Philip Strick)
  • Science Fiction Film and Television vol.1 no.1 (Spring 2008) pp.176-179 – DVD review (DVD reviews: Fantastic Planet by Seth Giddings)
  • Positif no.503 (January 2003) p.76 – DVD review (La Planète sauvage de René Laloux by Hubert Nioret)
  • Sight & Sound vol.16 no.10 (October 2006) p.88 – illustrated DVD review (Close-up: Out of this world by Michael Brooke)
  • Le Technicien du Film no.207 (15 September 1973) pp.37-39 – review
  • Téléciné no.183-184 (December 1973/January 1974) p.16 (France) – illustrated credits, review (Films nouveaux – De Blance neige à La Planète sauvage by Stéphane Sorel)
  • Télérama no.2635 (15 July 2000) pp.56-57 (France) – illustrated interview with René Laloux (Le vrai cinéma, c'est l'animation by Bernard Génin)
  • Variety 16 May 1973 pp.6, 18 – credits, review (by Mosk)

Books

  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.314
  • Film Review 1975-76 by F. Maurice Speed (ed) p.168
  • French Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Pulp Fiction by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier p.123-124
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.129
  • by Walt Lee pp.373; 470 – credits
  • Sci-fi Chronicles by Guy Haley (ed.) p.296