Fantastic Planet

Last night on sky arts I stumbled across this trippy piece of animation from 1973 called Fantastic Planet or, in its home tongue “Planete  Sauvage.”  Directed by French artist Rene Laloux – who had previously made films designed to measure the attention span of schizophrenics – and production design by Roland Topor the film depicts a future in which human beings known as Oms have been bought back to the Draags home planet where they are kept as pets, in collars.  The Draags are an alien race, like the notorious Greys of ufology they are humanoids but they are a hundred times larger than humans with blue skin and huge saucer shaped eyes.

Although the Oms are kept as pets some have escaped and live wild and are routinely exterminated by the Draags as if they were vermin.

The film, I guess, is an exercise in surrealist imagery and to this end it is simply incredible, especially for its time. It is beautifully conceived and coupled with the sound track is simply hypnotic. The Draags meditate throughout the film and overall the general mood of the film is one of  otherworldliness.

Thematically perhaps it shows us how things might look if the tables were turned and humans were superseded by a more intelligent or powerful life form. Stephen Hawkins has recently stated in the press that he has no doubt whatsoever that aliens are out there and, based on the way human beings have treated lifeforms less powerful than themselves, he hopes to  God they never find us.

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