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Fantastique!

June 29th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

I return to you now…

I believe I have said something to that effect before, but hey if Aaron Sorkin can recycle his words to great effect and acclaim, so can I. And don’t you dare say I’m already taking from Ian McKellen as Gandalf, because that would be tantamount to libel, dear internet reader!

Nevermind all the whys and hows (little things like SIFF 2012) as to my absence from this blog, but I know that hasn’t stopped y’all from dropping in on the good ol’ G of I these pasts few weeks. I may have not been able to touch fingers to keys but I was surely threading some incredible films of late. We’re talking 35mm prints of nearly lost 80s films (“Possession”) and new films that feel like rediscovered cult classics (“Beyond the Black Rainbow”). Where else are you going to see risky programming and classic noir all throughout the year than at Seattle’s longest continually running movie house?

As wonderful as the films of Studio Ghibli are playing across town at the Uptown, maybe it’s time to give a switch from trans-Pacific to trans-Atlantic classic animation with our presentation of “Fantastic Planet.” I recently discovered Messr. Rene Laloux a few years ago, and tracked down all the rare copies of his films that I could find (some of which you can only find at Scarecrow!). He directed only three features, all of which are astounding pieces of work that are some of the finest pieces of European animation of all time. Speaking of time, “Time Masters” is my favorite, a film touched by the great and recently departed Moebius, who provided design work and helped with the story for the film.

But that’s “Time Masters,” and this is “Fantastic Planet.” As a Czech co-production during the 70s, this film has all sorts of social and political themes boiling beneath the surface, as human-like beings are playthings andĀ chattel for the giant blue beings (no, not “Avatar”). Beyond the riveting, Swiftian, Gulliveresque allegorical satire, this film is a wonderful head trip of innovative and near-psychedelic science fiction. Reminds me of Frank Herbert’s non-Dune works and some of Piers Anthony’s fictions. Truly a product of it’s era, there is literally no other animated film like it. I love “Fantastic Planet,” and so will you. Give Miyazaki a break and see some pre-cursor landmark animation today, on 35mm no less!

Some of the beautifully surreal yet nightmarish imagery. Just a taste!

For our late night fare, were are going trans-Pacific with a minor little John Woo classic, “The Killer.” You got me, it’s not minor! This is the film that made Chow Yun-Fat an international superstar. This melodrama with bullet-time action and blind girls getting in the way of serious bromance set the bar for John Woo’s career (white doves!) and set the stage for slow mo extremism a decade later with “The Matrix.” Come see where the slow mo gunplay sub genre of action movies kicked off, this weekend only on 35mm!

—back and none too soon, dan

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