A friend recommended me the old sci-fi classic Fantastic Planet (link to the whole movie). This movie and its reception hold the key to understanding a lot of human behavior and functioning around dissociation, trauma, and human sexuality. It’s a great example of how mindful awareness and investigation help to understand something that possibly millions of humans who watched the movie did not fully piece together. I invite you to watch the film before reading the text.
Please note: This text explores sexual abuse.
A quick summary of the movie is as follows:
Nothing else has ever looked or felt like director René Laloux s animated marvel Fantastic Planet, a politically minded and visually inventive work of science fiction. The film is set on a distant planet called Ygam, where enslaved humans (Oms) are the playthings of giant blue natives (Draags). After Terr, kept as a pet since infancy, escapes from his gigantic child captor, he is swept up by a band of radical fellow Oms who resist the Draags oppression and violence. With its eerie, coolly surreal cutout animation by Roland Topor; brilliant psychedelic jazz score by Alain Goraguer; and wondrous creatures and landscapes, this Cannes-awarded 1973 counterculture classic is a perennially compelling statement against conformity and violence.
But let’s dive into what it depicts and the meaning behind it. In the beginning, it introduces us to the blue giants that are the masters of the little human that is still a baby at this point in the plot.
In the context of the rest of the movie, this meditation refers to having sex while being dissociated. The eyes are turning red and the bubble floating above the blue aliens is a great visualization of dissociation, of disconnecting from the body. In the next scene, the relatively little human is encountering something in his host family:
This key scene of the movie depicts sexual child abuse in a very detached and ingeniously subtle form. I know this might seem like a far-fetched claim. First of all, there are some details later in the movie that makes this interpretation obvious, and as well if you closely pay attention to what is happening, you can see this. The trick is not to interpret the scene literally and start to see and be aware of the meaning behind what is directly happening. You have to loosen your awareness and connect with the body to see this. Let’s take it slowly.
When the men are caught, they just stop their act suddenly and pretend that nothing happened.
The child character says the telling words.
A drag week was equivalent to one of my years. I was just a live plaything who sometimes dared to rebel.
When you read the reviews, discussions, and interpretations of the movie, it is astonishing how some people pick up on the movie being about how we should not hurt animals or how totalitarian regimes are evil. No one seems to see the most obvious here. It’s a story about how children growing up in abusive homes are powerless and at the mercy of their parents. With abusive parents, in the worst case, sexually abusive parents, their children are prisoners of giant aliens that they need to please, and they try to rebel, but their power is almost none compared to their parents. This movie is about how vulnerable children are. Something that not many that reviewed the movie seemed to have picked up on.
The next scene is one where my hunch about this being about child sexual abuse got very certain:
Do you remember the adult aliens’ dissociation meditation? Well, now here the movie explains that it was time for the children to be initiated to this as well. Now, what is sexual here? Again it’s so subtlely depicted that you need to loosen your awareness and become curious about the plants. In the movie reviews, many viewers mention that they found the bizarre plants particularly interesting. Well, if you look at them closely in this clip of the child meditation, you can make a stunning observation.
After this and some more background story, the now adolescent human manages to escape his prison and flees. Not without encountering yet another pointer to the sexual undercurrent of this movie. I think no explanation is needed for this one:
After fleeing, our adolescent main protagonist encounters a group of undomesticated wild humans that live in a park. There he observes their mating ritual. Symbolically it begins with them receiving some magical stones that make them glow. Also, they receive that glow while they walk over the dead skull of one of the blue aliens. This one is not entirely obvious, but it seems to me that healing of sexuality is depicted here. The humans in this sequence overcome their childhood abuse by symbolically climbing over the dead abuser and then engaging in adult, consensual sexuality.
At the movie’s end, the meaning of the meditation is revealed to be sexuality, and intercourse. The humans discover this, allowing them to force the blue aliens to give them their own planet and live without hate.
The movie has many other layers of meaning, but I focused on childhood sexual abuse because this side of the movie is not mentioned by any review or comment. So given the above, I hope to have shown that this movie is an ingeniously subtle and covert depiction of child sexual abuse. The film ties this to dissociation, and disembodiment. But it also has a message of the possibility of healing your sexuality despite the abuse. Now when you read the movie reviews and comments, this is where it gets really interesting. First, some of the words under the entire length movie on youtube:
I absolutely love this movie. I wish sci Fi was artistic like this, just pure creativity. It isn't like anything I ever seen, this movie actually is a inspiration in my artwork, still gotta practice but it's my main inspiration. It's so, random but it's not random? If that makes sense, it's a wonderful movie.
This commenter is pointing out how their subconscious is picking up on certain meanings without it landing fully in awareness.
My mom saw this movie in 1978ish at drive-in in Denver CO, I just watched it with her. She's in her 60s now, and she just kept saying "Wow...Wow!".
This movie activates hidden away parts that might have experienced sexual abuse, which would explain these strong reactions. Another set of comments that stands out is comments that point out that the commenter saw the movie as a kid and was scared and fascinated at the same time:
I watched this when i was five I loved it so much this is so nostalgic
Yall talking about how great this is, honestly traumatized by seeing it as a kid
I can only be attracted to people who like this movie
The comments under the trailer on youtube also give room for thought given the insights from above:
I had vague memories of this film growing up, that would just pop into my head out of nowhere, or in my dreams a few times a year. I think I may have watched it when I was very young, and it just stuck. Until today, I always thought it was just a weird reoccurring dream. Pretty crazy that I just happened to stumble upon the trailer. I never even knew it was an actual movie.
This weird recurring dream might be this commenter expressing how deep in his subconscious certain traumatized parts of the mind were supressed.
For anyone under the age of 5 this is a horror movie. Speaking from experience, those cold red eyes peer into my soul every night still.
My god, this film is giving me emotions I can't even describe. I feel like I wanna a cry and curl up into a ball, terrified and amazed by the sheer beauty of the art, all the while giving me a type of anxiety I've never felt before
This might be someone describing how this movie activates buried memories of their own abuse. But they do not have it fully in their awareness and are therefore left with a lot of confusion about this.
I remembered when I was like 8 years old (that was in the 90's) and watched this film on TV all alone in the hall in the middle of the night. In that moment, it really seemed "fascinating" to me... yeah, also like... disturbing (lacking a better word) and ended with a feeling of emptiness... I don't know how to explain it... I'm happy to finally know the title of this film.
This cartoon struck me like a ton of bricks when I was a kid. The art style is so much like old scientific illustrations.
I remember seeing the trailer for this movie when I was maybe 4. It scarred me in ways I can't even explain and it's only when I actually saw it as an adult that I was able to make sense of what I had seen. This is not a kids movie.
Really awesome movie to watch on acid. Just not something you'd want to watch if you never watched a movie on acid before. This was the 3rd movie I ever saw on acid. (1st was yellow submarine movie by the beatles, 2nd was the wall movie by pink floyd.) It's mostly mesmerizing & serene. It has it's share of tense moments too, but well worth it in the end. It really helped me learn to not give up on things so easily. Even when everything seem utterly hopeless.
I watched this movie when i was very kid, but I'll never forget it, a masterpiece...a dream telling, through dream languages, about reality !
I remember seeing this movie for some reason when I was a kid and it totally synced into my mind. I don’t remember going to see it in a movie theater I think it was actual TV back in the 70s. I don’t think that ever shows something like that where kids could see it. It’s probably created some really far out nightmares
This movie is so brilliant. I'm glad I watched it again. It freaked me out when I was little.
Amazing movie. A friend of mine told me to get ready for some "disturbing shizzz", but that was not the case. The whole time I felt like this was the work of something from outer space, as if someone who's living this reality couldn't have come up with this. It had a blend of innocence and maturity, painting human life as primal as possible. Loved it. I was also high as shit.e.
i've seen this madness last night in a bar. I just had the image without sound and i couldn't stop watching. Simply AMAZING
I saw this as a child It made me scared of the world Now that I am older I found out it was true!
My parents took me to see this in the theater in 1973. I was 10. It traumatized me.
I remember my father showing me this movie when I was 7 years old and ending up semi-traumatised
This didn't scare me when I was young (about 8) and came across it when I was watching t.v., but now. It mortifies me. It REALLY freaks me out. I don't think I could ever watch it again. That fascinates me. I was so fearless as a child, but now, just the thought of watching this scares the hell out of me.
Maybe this is not the movie this commenter is scared about, but their own experience this movie is pointing towards.
There's something disturbing about this movie,but i cant get it out of my head.Genius
Somehow, I can't shake off the impression this was real in some way.
This comment is truly amazing. It could be read as this person being somehow aware that this movie is pointing to their own experience of sexual abuse. But it is buried so deeply that they can not bring it into their awareness. Reading all the comments and making sense of them given this movie’s hidden meaning, we can speculate that these comments might point to the fact that, first of all, there are many people who have experienced sexual abuse that this movie resonates. Then also, the comments show how the human mind is very good at hiding this. The comments describe emotional experiences or point to how the movie traumatised or scared them. But to me, it seems likely that for many commenters, the movie is just pointing to their own experience, which is where these feelings come from. Then they watch the movie and resonate strongly, but without full awareness of what is going on. This, to me, seems to be best explained by trauma and dissociation. The memories are split off and buried deep inside the mind. When subtly triggered, as this movie does very well, these parts deep inside resonate. Because they are still very much suppressed, the viewers can’t make sense of the movie. It seems alien and weird and does not make sense. Yet they are captivated and in trance. All of this, to me, is an amazing insight how subtle and hidden signals are picked up on by the mind without coming fully into awareness. It’s influencing humans, captivating them, but they do not realize what is happening. It’s like they are not actually a single solid self. But they actually have hidden away parts that they can only faintly hear in the distance, so they don’t understand what they are communicating. I invite you to watch the movie and read through some reviews by film critics on Amazon, and comments on Youtube and try to make sense of this phenomenon. It’s eery how many people seem to miss this, almost as if they are prevented from seeing the child sexual abuse aspect of this film which has been around since the 70s. It shows how widespread this tragic phenomenon is and how much suppression the mind is capable of. This is how the mind works. We as humans are not these solid, monolithic selves. Especially when there is trauma, parts get split off, causing confusion. But just looking closely at this movie and its reception, we can see how normal this is. This also is an invitation to ponder and wonder more deeply, what are the things you are picking up on that draw in your interest, what people are picking up on beyond the obvious. Assuming people are truthful, and their minds sometimes or often strongly filter what they can be aware of. If you look closely and with curiosity there are a lot of surprising answers.
I’m grateful for the openness of the internet that allows such peeks into so many different human minds. I’m grateful for this movie and the recommendation by my friend.
May you all find curiosity and wonder in your confusion. May you all move towards healing.