The Captive, a film by René Laloux

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The feature films of French animator René Laloux are the closest thing to cinematic equivalents of comics magazine Métal Hurlant. Laloux’s collaboration with Roland Topor, Fantastic Planet (1973), is familiar to Anglophone audiences but fewer people are aware of Time Masters (1982) and Gandahar (1988), two more science fiction films made with Moebius and Philippe Caza respectively. Time Masters looks marvellous but the story (based on a novel by Stefan Wul) lacks the strangeness of Fantastic Planet. Gandahar,  based on a novel by Jean-Pierre Andrevon, I’ve yet to see but anyone searching for it should be aware that the version dubbed into English (and retitled The Light Years) dumped Gabriel Yared’s score, and had a sexual encounter censored by the usual rabble of prudish American producers.

The Captive (1988) continues the collaboration with Philippe Caza being a 7-minute adaptation of Caza’s comic story Equinoxe (1982). The music for this one is also by Gabriel Yared, and this copy at YouTube includes English subtitles. For comparison, the comic story is here. Of the two I prefer the comic but then I’ve always enjoyed Caza’s work.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Les Temps Morts by René Laloux

Weekend links 150

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One of A Pair of Peacocks (2012) by Feanne.

Jonathan Barnbrook reveals his package design for the new David Bowie CD. The Barnbrook studio has also designed the catalogue for the forthcoming V&A Bowie exhibition. And there’s more (don’t worry, it’ll be over soon): Jon Savage on When Bowie met Burroughs.

• “Witches have a fashion moment,” says the NYT. Nice clothes but the writing trots out too many of the usual lazy clichés. Related: A Tale of Witches, Woodland and Half-remembered Melodies…, a new mix by Melmoth the Wanderer.

Calidostópia! is a free album (FLAC & mp3) from Marcus Popp aka Oval: “an enticing 16-track collaboration…with seven wonderful singers/musicians from all over South America”.

Before meeting Moorcock in person, [Hari] Kunzru went on to say, ‘I didn’t realise the role he’d played in connecting so many different scenes and undergrounds together – the psychedelic music scene, the science fiction scene, the hip experimental literature scene around people like William Burroughs, pop art’.

Brave New Worlds: A Michael Moorcock Retrospective by Carol Huston. Moorcock’s Elric novels will be published by Glénat in new bande dessinée adaptations later this year.

• More art by Michael W. Kaluta at The Golden Age. And more fantastic comics/illustration by Philippe Caza at 50 Watts. There’s more Caza here.

• Mine and David Britton’s new book, Lord Horror: Reverbstorm, was reviewed at The Spectator.

Google Street Scene: “Moments of cinema captured by Google Street View cameras”.

Cosmic Sentinels and Spiral Jetties: JG Ballard, Robert Smithson & Tacita Dean

• Strange Flowers showcases the heads of Pavel Tchelitchew, 1949–1952.

Setting in the East: Diamanda Galás on Women and Real Horror

Little Joe: “A magazine about queers and cinema, mostly.”

Nanoparticles loaded with bee venom kill HIV.

Treatises on Dust: Antic Found Texts

The Wizard Blew His Horn (1975) by Hawkwind (with Michael Moorcock) | Brothel In Rosenstrasse (1982) by Michael Moorcock’s Deep Fix | Running Through The Back Brain (1983) by Hawkwind (with Michael Moorcock)

Weekend links 133

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Lower Manhattan (1999) by Lebbeus Woods.

RIP Lebbeus Woods, an architect and illustrator frequently compared to Piranesi not only for his imagination and the quality of his renderings but also for the way both men built very little from a lifetime of designs. Lots of appreciations have appeared over the past few days including this lengthy piece by Geoff Manaugh at BLDGBLOG. (Geoff interviewed Woods in 2007.) Elsewhere: A slideshow at the NYT, Steven Holl remembers Lebbeus Woods and Lebbeus Woods, visionary architect of imaginary worlds. See also: Lebbeus Woods: Early Drawings and this post about Woods’ illustrations for an Arthur C Clarke story collection. Woods was at his most Piranesian with Gothic designs for an artificial planet that would have been the principal location in Vincent Ward’s unmade Alien 3.

Arkhonia draws to the end of a year of blogging about and around the Beach Boys’ errant masterwork, Smile (1967). Witty, discursive and frequently scabrous accounts of how Brian Wilson’s magnum opus was derailed and marginalised until it became convenient for commercial interests to exploit its reputation. Anyone following those posts won’t have been surprised by Wilson’s sacking from his own group by Mike Love in September.

• “We’ve been underground for 27 hours now. Everyone is caked in mud, with grit in their hair.” Will Hunt explores the catacombs and sewers of Paris.

I think the only remotely interesting drug was acid. I had a slightly peculiar attitude towards it I think. Just about everything about hippydom I hated. I liked the 60s up to about ’65 or ’66. I liked the mod clothes, I liked the look. I wasn’t a keen taker of speed because I didn’t like the comedown from it. Then everything changed and became looser, I didn’t like the clothes at all. I felt rather out of step with it. The acid thing was interesting though. I come from Salisbury and from the age of 12 I had a friend who was 30 years older than I was who I saw regularly up until when he died a couple of years ago, whose obituary I wrote in The Times. This man was called Ken James and he was deputy head at the chemical warfare unit at Porton Down [the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory]. He then became head of the scientific civil service; he was the man who introduced computing into the civil service and he had taken acid as early as 1950. This was long before Aldous Huxley.

Sharp Suits And Sparkle: Jonathan Meades On Acid, Space And Place by John Doran. Marvellous stuff. Meades’ new book is Museum Without Walls.

• In New York later this month: A Cathode Ray Séance – The Haunted Worlds of Nigel Kneale.

• More acid: Kerri Smith talks to Oliver Sacks about his drug experiences.

• “It starts with an itch”: Alan Bennett (again) on his new play, People.

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Lower Manhattan last Wednesday. Photo by Iwan Baan.

• Back issues of OMNI magazine can now be found at the Internet Archive.

• Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins present their new film, Jimmy’s End.

• At BibliOdyssey: Atlas title pages part one & part two.

• Raw Functionality: An interview with Emptyset.

Athanasius, Underground

Vintage Caza

Stormy Weather (1979) by Elisabeth Welch.

Tentacles #3: Dwellers in the Mirage

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Illustration by Robert A. Graef (1932).

If the predatory octopuses of the Sargasso Sea are too mundane for you, how about an extra-dimensional Kraken named Khalk’ru which has to be placated with human sacrifice? This creature is the prime menace in A. Merritt’s Dwellers in the Mirage (1932), a novel I’m afraid I haven’t read despite its quite evident tentacular delirium. The story is a Lost Race adventure with the unlikely setting of a warm valley in Alaska where the usual heroic outsider encounters the diabolical Kraken worshippers. Merritt’s work is out of copyright in Australia so the text of the book can be found at the Australian Project Gutenberg. There you’ll discover that chapter four is entitled Tentacle of Khalk’ru.

A handful of covers and illustrations follow.

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Virgil Finlay (1941).

Continue reading “Tentacles #3: Dwellers in the Mirage”

Raymond Bertrand’s science fiction covers

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Work by the elusive French artist Raymond Bertrand has appeared here before although the art continues to be more visible (if obscure) than the man himself. Bertrand’s most famous drawings are the naked women that appeared on the cover of issue 28 of Oz magazine, the notorious School Kids Issue, but I don’t think he was credited for the usage and his name is never mentioned when the magazine is discussed. Looking for information about the Chute Libre books at French SF site Noosfere led me to an entry for Bertrand’s work. The list doesn’t include any of the book collections of his drawings but does have these magazine covers which feature some pieces I hadn’t seen before.

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Fiction was the leading French SF magazine, and sported a fascinating range of cover art especially from the mid-60s on. Artists at that time included Philippe Druillet and Philippe Caza, both of whom would become big names in the comics world a few years later. Galaxie was the French edition of American magazine Galaxy, and featured unique material among its translations of Anglophone works. Being French, there’s a greater amount of flesh on display than you’d find on magazine covers in the US and UK; some of this is as salacious as anything else from the period although at least one of the artists drawing naked females was a woman, Sophie Busson. Naked females emerging from—or being absorbed by—strange vegetation, polyps or aquatic organisms were Bertrand’s métier so that’s mostly what one finds here. Few of the covers seem to relate to the magazine’s contents, the artists appear to have been free to draw what they liked; in the case of Druillet that means his usual Lovecraftian architecture. An exception is issue 198 of Fiction which has an article about Bertrand’s work by Jacques Chambon: Raymond Bertrand ou de l’amour de l’art à l’art de l’amour. I’m hoping now that someone might be good enough to translate that piece for us lazy Anglophones.

And speaking of former Oz artists, Renaud Leon left a message recently with news that YouTube now has a channel featuring many examples of Jim Leon’s remarkable paintings.

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Continue reading “Raymond Bertrand’s science fiction covers”