Laloux and the Fantastic Planet

I recently learned about the work of an oft-overlooked French animator, René Laloux, and what by many is considered his magnum opus, “La Planète Sauvage,” or “Fantastic Planet” in English. Adapted from French writer Stefan Wul’s book “Oms en série,” this feature is an otherworldly take on the concept of human nature as it imagines a world inhabited by blue giants who, towering over man both in stature and intellect, treat humans as nothing more than animals or pets. As the plot progresses, we see the strugle between the two species who, despite their differences, ultimately learn to coexist with one another. Animated partially in France and partially in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War, the films is a testament to the merging of separate philosophies, styles and artistic influences, bringing to light both the uniqueness and experimentation of Czech animation, and the thematic coherence of French cinema. At a time when the world could not have been more divided, “Fantastic Planet” shows that, for the sake of artistic expression, people are willing to overcome their differences and make something truly beautiful.

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