Three beautiful cinema books selected by “Le Monde”: René Laloux, Agnès Varda and Boris Gourevitch

Three beautiful cinema books selected by “Le Monde”: René Laloux, Agnès Varda and Boris Gourevitch


Cinema 1

“The Odyssey of “The Wild Planet””, by Fabrice Blin and Xavier Kawa-Topor

It is hard to imagine today the shock that was the presentation of La Planète sauvage , by René Laloux, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. The second animated science fiction feature film ever made in France, this work remains one of the most significant of its kind. Its fiftieth anniversary is celebrated with the publication of a very beautiful book, The Odyssey of “The Wild Planet” .

The film comes from a rare constellation of talents. Two intrepid producers, André Valio-Cavaglione and Simon Damiani, decide to challenge the Disney empire with pennies. Two brilliant creators, René Laloux and Roland Topor, work on the scenario, and the second on the graphics. Stefan Wul, a great French science fiction writer, is the author of the novel that inspires the film, Oms en serial (Black River, 1957). The composer and orchestrator Alain Goraguer (1931-2023), known for his collaborations with Boris Vian, Boby Lapointe and Serge Gainsbourg, creates a heady pop score.

The story is that of the Oms, reduced to nothing on the planet Ygam by alien giants, the Draags. Equipped with immense technological knowledge, the Draags consider the Oms as pets at best, and at worst as a race to be exterminated.

Written by two eminent specialists in animated cinema, and abundantly illustrated (sketches, drawings, posters, etc.), The Odyssey of “The Wild Planet” offers an exhaustive tour of the making of this UFO, on the aesthetic, philosophical, technical and economic. That is, in broad terms and in detail, four years of hell for René Laloux: relocation of filming to Prague for reasons of savings, Soviet invasion in 1968, lasting interruption of all work, temporary disappearance of Roland Topor who does not want to work in Prague, isolation of René Laloux, the only Frenchman to lead the project in an environment that is foreign to him…

Made using a cut-out paper technique proposed by Czech animator Josef Kabrt, who sublimates the graphics, the film is distinguished by the unbridled inspiration, both Boschian and surrealist, of Topor. And despite all the obstacles, the feature film by Laloux reveals a splendor without any real equivalent, which announces the emergence of a rich school of French animation. J.Ma.

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