On the planet Ygam a wild mother Om is running with her baby to try to get away from three Draag children that are teasing them. When the mother ends up dead the Draag children lose interest. The baby, now orphaned, cries. The infant is found by one of the Draag elders, Master Sinh, who is out walking with his daughter Tiwa. Tiwa wants to keep the infant as a pet. She names him Terr.
Draags are huge blue humanoid creatures with red eyes and ears shaped like fins. Oms are tiny humans. They come from a planet called Terra but have now flourished in Ygam having gotten out into the wild. Oms have a shorter lifespan than Draags but they reproduce more rapidly. A Draag week equals about an Om year. Some Draags consider them pests. Draags are an advanced civilization that consumes information using headsets that transmit knowledge directly to the brain. They are spiritual creatures that meditate often. Quite often Tiwa caresses Terr when she is using her headset. The knowledge from her headset is also being transferred to Terr. He is learning.
By the time Terr is a young man Tiwa has lost interest in her toy. Terr manages to escape with Tiwa’s headset and meets a wild Om in the park who takes him to her tribe. With the headset he teaches the other Oms about the Draags. Terr reads a notice that the Draags plan on fumigating the park to get rid of the wild Oms. Terr notifies another group of Oms about the coming purge. Many of the Oms are killed during the purge but the two groups come together to find a new place to live.
They escape to an abandoned rocket dump. Using the information they gained from the headset they build two rockets to take them to Ygam’s moon. The moon is referred to as the Savage Planet. There they hope to be able to live in peace. When they finally get to the Savage Planet they discover the secret of the Draags and how to destroy them. This knowledge induces the Draags to take a different view of the Oms if they want to survive.
“Fantastic Planet” AKA “La Planete Sauvage”, or "The Savage Planet" in English, was released in 1973 and was directed by Rene Laloux. It is an animated French/Czechoslovakian fantasy science fiction film. The film took five years to make, due to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Russians in 1968.
The animation of the planet Ygam is reminiscent of the animation for “Allegro non Troppo-Ravel Bolero Coke” only not as well done. It’s quirky and imaginative. The plant and animal life on the planet are far more interesting and varied than the actual story. Some of them are even amusing. The film was interesting, sort of like a bible story or parable for the future. Even though it’s animated the movie is for adults. The Oms, when naked, are anatomically correct. It’s not transcendental but it does have its trippy moments.
The movie is based on the 1957 novel “Oms en série” by French writer Stefan Wul. Wul was the pen name of Pierre Pairault. Pairault was a dental surgeon. He got into writing science fiction after his wife read a rather bad science fiction novel and decided that her bookworm husband could write a better one.
The film is often looked at as an allegory about human relations. The Draags are considered advanced life and the Oms are considered animals. It is sometimes seen as a commentary on animal rights, human rights and even racism. It can easily be interpreted as a metaphor for the African slave trade since the Oms were originally brought to Ygam as pets. The theme of “oppression and uprising” of the Oms is especially relevant for this French/Czechoslovakian co-production. In 1968 Czechoslovakia had been invaded by Russia and the Warsaw Pact to crack down on reformist trends in Prague. The film is always relevant since there is always oppression of one kind or another going on.
The name Om is a reference to the word “hommes” which is French for “men” or “humankind”.