Monday, April 6, 2009
The French/Czech Mindfuck
With imagery that's clearly meant to invoke Bosch visions of Hell, spastic pacing, a soundtrack that sounds like circa 1968 Floyd moonlighting at a burlesque show, I now have yet another entry in the list of films only Dave will like (curious, how many on that list are animated). The 1972 French/Czech co-production of Fantastic Planet.
I'll give it this: it's the first and only French science-fiction film that doesn't feel like a winking pastiche of the American pulp stories of the 1930s. For a film that was made at the height of the Metal Hurlant days, that's pretty impressive. But I'm guessing it was the Czechs who gave it that genuinely disturbing otherworldly vibe. I can't deny that France has an impressive history of animation, but they have clearly been part of the Western (Disney) Canon. But anyone who has ever seen any animation from behind the iron curtain knows that there was something in the water there.
Now you, too, can have a drink. Will you like it? Probably not. But you'll definitely come away thinking that you saw something entirely different from anything else, and that's worth something.
Note: Oddly enough, the "Fantastic Planet" of the title is not the planet that the film takes place on.