Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. France/Czechoslovakia, 1973. Argos Films, Les Films Armorial, Institut National de L’Audiovisuel, Ceskoslovenský Filmexport, Krátký Film Praha. Screenplay by Roland Topor, Rene Laloux, based on the novel by Stefan Wul. Cinematography by Boris Baromykin, Lubomir Rejthar. Produced by Anatole Dauman. Music by Alain Goraguer. Film Editing by Helene Arnal, Dick Elliott, Rich Harrison, Marta Latalova. Cannes Film Festival 1973.
Curiously animated science-fiction fable that has been a cult favourite since its premiere at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, where it took a special prize. Execution overcomes plot familiarity as a barely subtle plot about class division takes place on the planet of Ygam, where a race of blue giants called Draags have human beings, whom they call Oms and who are minuscule by comparison, as pets and slaves. One baby is raised as a favored pet by a child who killed his mother in a playful activity with his friends, and this youngster named Terr eventually develops a desire for freedom that sees him escape into the wild where he meets others like him who are looking to revolt against their oppression. Unlike other stories of this kind, co-existence is the ultimate goal and not revolutionary revenge, but what makes the deepest impression is the highly curious visual style, with animation that is consciously unsophisticated but stretches the imagination to the extreme with the creation of otherworldly creatures and backgrounds that dazzle. It gets few points for originality as a concept but you won’t easily shake off the haunting score or images.