I'd never seen Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage) until very recently, and I couldn't be more excited that it's playing this weekend at Fifth Avenue Cinema (on the PSU campus). The bizarre animated movie has been described as a mixture of Salvador Dali, Hieronymous Bosch, and Terry Gilliam, and that drool-inducing assessment is not far off.

Check out the trailer, and read more after the jump.

The 1973 film is a collaboration between French and Czech animators, and it's based on a science fiction novel by Stefan Wul called Oms en Série, but the movie's theme has a lot to do with Czechoslovakia's occupation by Soviet forces in the late '60s, which brought about the close of the Prague Spring era.

In the film, a race of blue giants, called Draags, co-exist with the human-like Oms (presumably a variant of the French word for man: homme). Oms are either considered by Draags to be mice-like pests or are kept captive as cute little pets. The Draags are an enlightened, intelligent race with a sophisticated government and extensive rituals of mediation. Yet they consider Oms to be inferior beings, perhaps because of their size. (Cue allegory.)

The story holds up completely, in the classic sense of science fiction as parable for current-day issues. But the imagery is what's really amazing. Although the animation itself is choppy and primitive, the drawings are nothing short of spectacular, and the unorthodox pace of the movie feels hypnotic in tandem with the surreal art.

There's also a swanky '70s progressive rock score, which is awesome and hilarious at the same time. (Madlib sampled the shit out of it.) If you're so inclined, you can find the whole movie on YouTube, but the opportunity to see it on the big screen shouldn't be missed.

Fantastic Planet will be showing at Fifth Avenue Cinema (510 SW Hall) in 35mm, in French with English subtitles.

Fri Jan 9 & Sat Jan 10 at 7 & 9:30 pm, Sun Jan 11 at 3 pm, $3 (FREE for PSU students, $2 for other students, seniors, & children)