Tonight and through the weekend, Texas’s brand-new Austin Film Society Cinema will transport moviegoers to the strange world of Ygam, as the theater presents René Laloux’s 1973 Cannes award–winning animated film Fantastic Planet. The sui generis science-fiction fable, a hallucinatory visual marvel designed by French graphic artist Roland Topor and brought to life by a team of Czechoslovak animators, imagines a distant future in which human beings (Oms) have been enslaved by the blue giants (Draags) who rule their windswept native planet. As it goes on to chronicle the resistance to this unequal order, Fantastic Planet homes in on the dynamics of oppression and submission but all the while remains open to interpretation. “Innumerable allegorical messages are there for the plucking, be they about politics, intolerance, the use of euphemistic language to mask morally abhorrent decisions, or the simple pleasures of getting high,” writes Michael Brooke in his liner essay for our release of Laloux’s film, a heady vision that “rarely lets us forget that it emerged from the era of psychedelia, even if it was made behind the old Iron Curtain.”
Two Stark Visions of the American Underbelly Hit the Big Screen
A new restoration of the groundbreaking vérité documentary Streetwise joins its companion piece, Tiny: the Life of Eric Blackwell, at New York’s Metrograph theater this weekend.