4. An animated film: Fantastic Planet (1973)
List Progress: 6/12
My roommate and I watched this movie yesterday, and both of us proceeded to have dreams about it last night. Fantastic Planet, the surreal French/Czech animated film turned cult classic, feels like a dream in many ways, but with enough plot and character resonance to keep the viewer from disengaging from its reality. It tells a simple story set in a truly alien world and invites you to imagine yourself there. An invitation that my subconscious was happy to accept.
On the planet of Ygam, blue humanoids called Draags go about their days learning, playing and meditating. And on the periphery of their lives, existing as both pets and pests, are Oms, humans that are the size of mice compared to the massive Draags. The main Om, a boy named Terr, is kept as an amusing pet by a Draag child; he is dressed up and played with but not seen as a sentient being. Adult Draags have even less consideration for the small animals, seeing them as a nuisance that need to be controlled, such as when they “De-Om” a park with the casual efficiency of someone putting out rat traps. But when Terr learns to read Draag writing, he has an opportunity to gain some strength and dignity for himself and his fellow Oms.
The animation style of Fantastic Planet is not like anything I’ve seen before. Any given frame feels like it could be a finished still image, with lines like pencil drawings and muted colors against a tan alien sky. Great attention is paid to the world of Ygam, with little vignettes showing the animals and plants of this world, as well as the obscure culture of the philosophical and long-lived Draags. There is a haunting tone about the whole film, enhanced by the psychedelic sound track drifting over all.
Fantastic Planet feels very 70’s and very French (get ready for lots of nudity, mostly non-sexual), but also somehow universal. If you are ready to spend a little over an hour in a dream world, it is a great one to explore from a mouse’s point of view.
Would I Recommend It: Yes.