Fantastic Planet at the Dryden

I also went to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see La planète sauvage (Fantastic Planet). The woman who gave the introductory presentation was new-to-me — she was young, and I believe attending The University of Rochester. Among the other tidbits about the film, she mentioned that it was an allegory to the way the USSR treated its satellite states. I was surprised to find this caused me to try and make direct comparisons for the first 20 minutes or so, at which point I finally freed myself of that thought and could just absorb it as a work of art — and do the analysis later.

Anyway, it was amazing. It's an animated work of speculative fiction about these two species of intelligent beings: the Om are small and human-like and are treated like pets by the Dragg: the more advanced, 8-times larger, blue bipeds. Wild (that is, not domesticated) Om learn from the Dragg and become more adept, even learning to read the language. I was struck by the attention to detail (two examples: the doll-like clothing the Dragg make domesticated Om wear, and the debate between wild Om where each one ties himself to a vicious creature and the two fight until one Om is killed) and the lack of explanation (i.e. no attempt is made to explain how anything works, and no attempt is made to identify this world's relation to our own world — not in deep space, nor a tiny sub-world). My only disappointment was how abruptly the film concludes.

I thought it also interesting to note that the film is French, and the central character is a domesticated Om named Terr (both in French and subtitled): "Om" is a homophone for "homme", the French word for "man" and "Terr" is a homophone for "terre", the French word for Earth. I suspect the film would have been far more campy if it were about a Man named Earth instead.

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