Fantastic Planet (1973)

Director: René Laloux

This forgotten animated film is wonderfully bizarre and at times frightening with its imagery. Following the story of a domesticated Om, a human, raised by a race of giant humanoids called Draags, Fantastic Planet reflects on theme of mutual destruction and misunderstanding. The human, called Terr, is kept as a pet by the towering aliens and learns about the world through a headset that its young master uses for its lessons. Soon Terr comes to understand his sentience and autonomy by gaining knowledge and decides to escape his captivity into the wild.

Once free he encounters a race of savage Oms, gains their trust, and teaches them about the Draags technology. There are many threats to beings so small on the Draag planet, and the human Oms constantly face mortal peril at the hands of horrific monsters and the Draags themselves. Facing extermination after managing to kill one of the Draags in self-defense, the Oms create a spaceship and travel to the Fantastic Planet where they find the Draags weakness. Exploiting this weakness, the Oms are able to barter their survival.

Created by an innovative director and uniquely styled artist, Roland Toper, Planet has an interesting production past. The director got his start in animation by creating short films to test the attention of schizophrenic patients in a psychiatric ward. A search on youtube with Laloux’s name yields a wealth of strange films with frenetic themes and Boschian characters. Toper and Laloux went on to create two other films with Topper, but they are lost to archive history and incredibly hard to locate. Don’t miss this one though, its imagery will stay with you for a long time. Definitely not for young kids.

Other Notable Films by this Director: Dead Time (Les Temps Morts, 1964), The Snails (Les Escargots, 1965)