10 December 2014
This is a Film Klub entry that covers two films: Les Maîtres Du Temps (1982) and Gandahar (1987) both created by the French animator René Laloux. For the anglophones out there, you might remember these films by their English titles; The Time Masters and Light Years. Both films were originally done in French and then overdubbed for the English versions of the films.
Laloux is also well known for his debut animated film, Fantastic Planet.
The reason for stuffing two films into one entry, beyond sharing the same creator, is that last night I finally got around to viewing the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, which was actually quite interesting to watch, namely due to Jodorowsky’s intense, animated nature throughout the film’s interviews as well as the way the original artist drawings were presented (animated from the original stills) as well the synthesizer-heavy soundtrack by american punk/hardcore musician Kurt Stenzel.
The original character designs, vehicles and sets for Jodorowsky’s version of Dune are very similar to the style of Laloux’s two films of mention, mainly as they both share some of the same artists, in the case of Les Maîtres Du Temps, the French artist Jean Giraud/Moebius. I haven’t actually watched both of these films recently — both within the last four or five years however. Given that this is somewhat of a condensed post and less focused on the plot, which you can dig up from various online resources if you’re interested.
With both films, the reason I find them so compelling is that the science fiction that both films are based on is less technical and more about more over-arching ideas of humanity, belief, environment, morality and impact of technology — paired up with very surreal, fantastical images that are more based on dreamstates and artistic license than trying to make an honest, technical impression of what the future might look like. These film are obviously very influenced by the developments of the previous decade: progressive (prog?) art and music and without needing to say it, “expansions of consciousness” — likely from enhancements of substances.
Speaking of which there’s a great bit in Jodorowsky’s Dune where special effects artist Dan O’Bannon meets up with Jodorowsky for the first time, over the consumption of an apparently very, very strong joint.
Both of Laloux’s animated outputs in the 80s are definitely worth watching, even just to spark the imagination a bit. Here’s some clips below: