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The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best French SF works

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May19,2024

After spending time a top of the best works of French fantasy, Hitek's editorial team continues to pay homage to the imagination of our country, with this top of the 12 best works of SF made in France. On the program: metaphysical space opera, animated and ultra-referenced cyberpunk, very high-level post-apocalyptic.

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF comfortable

#1 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne (1870)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

Precursor of the genre in France,the illustrious writer Jules Verne had a huge influence on our collective imagination. Impossible for us to ignore this gigantic author. But which novel to choose from the 80 he wrote?Journey to the Center of the Earth ? From the Earth to the Moon? Why notTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, one of his greatest masterpieces, particularly for Captain Nemo, who remains one of the greatest characters of French culture, taken up in particular by Alan Moore in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 

#2 Ravage, by René Barjavel (1943)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best French SF works

The Post-apocalyptic Science Fiction was obviously not born with the remarkable I Am Legendby Richard Matheson (1954). She was even born in the 19th century in France withThe Last Manby Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville (1805).French author René ; Barjavel has also had a profound impact on the world. the genre withRavage, published in 1943, in which he imagines our suddenly deprived world. electricity, and the reactions that would result from such a scourge. A particularly interesting novel with regard to the time of its publication, but also in what it says about Barjavel's positions vis-à-vis the world. vis-a-vis scientific and technological progress.

#3 The Planet of the Apes, by Pierre Boulle (1963)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

Monument of French Science Fiction,Planet of the Apes is obviously at the heart of current events ;, with the very recent release ofPlanet of the Apes: The New Kingdom. Very rich, Pierre Boulle's novel addresses many fascinating questions, such as our relationship to; science, war or even the dialectic of master and slave. Let us also rejoice that a French novel has enabled the creation of a franchise comprising ten Hollywood films. 

#4 Valerian and Laureline, by Pierre Christin and Jean -Claude Mézières (1967-2010)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

We told you about it in our selection of Franco-Belgian comics:Valerian and Laureline is much more than a huge financial failure for Luc Besson. It is also, and above all,a masterpiece of French comics, published for the first time in the magazinePilote directed by the by René Goscinny, and who profoundly influenced writing space operas. WithoutValerian and Laureline, we most certainly would not have had many elements ofStar Wars, both ; start with Darth Vader.

#5 The iNCAL, by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Mœbius (1980-1988)

The Fifth Element, The Planet te des Singes: the 15 best works of French SF

Featured, withThe Adventures of Tintin, in our selection of the 15 greatest films- Franco-Belgian drawings, The Incalhas had a lasting impact on fans of French SF and readers of Métal Hurlant who discovered it during its pre-publication. Born from the somewhat bizarre mind of the legendary Alejandro Jodorowsky and benefiting from the exceptional talent of Mœbius, The Incal tells the adventures of the private detective John Difool, who receives the Incal light, a white pyramid with extraordinary powers. The duo immerses us in a dystopian and distant universe, a metaphysical and exciting space opera.

#6 The Nikopol trilogy, by Enki Bilal (1980-1992)

< p>The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

Renowned As one of the great voices of French Science Fiction and one of the greatest contemporary comic book artists, Enki Bilal is best known for his masterpiece  The Nikopol Trilogy. A protester from the past and fan of the poetic work of Charles Baudelaire becomes the toy of the Egyptian god Horus. The trilogy is enhanced by the drawings and colors of Enki Bilal. À discover urgently, if you don't know!

#7 le Transperceneige, by Jacques Lob and jEAN-mARC rOCHETTE (1982-2020)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

Published for the first time in 1982 in the pages of the magazine (&To be continued),&nbsp ;Le Transperceneige is one of the great masterpieces of post-apocalyptic Science Fiction. After a cataclysm which transformed the Earth into a frozen planet, humanity is confined in a gigantic train, in which the wealthy classes live in opulence at home. forward while the working classes live in poverty and violence at home. the rear. Absolutely brilliant, this comic strip was adapted for cinema by legendary South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (Memories of Murder,The HostParasite), before being transposed to as a TV series by Netflix. 

#8 La Citéé lost children, by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro (1995)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

After their first masterstrokeDelicatessen(which was already a post-apocalyptic comedy), Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro collaborate one last time withLa Cité of Lost Children. Wonderfully well staged, the film tells us the adventures of a mad scientist who, no longer able to dream, steals the dreams of kidnapped children.Aesthetically perfect, this great poetic film with an international cast is an absolute masterpiece, which deserves to be rediscovered. me éelement, by Luc Besson (1997)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

Strongly influenced by by the work of Christin and Mézières on Valerian and Laureline – which he would adapt many years later for the cinema -, Luc Besson wrote and carried out one of his greatest films:The Fifth Element. Based on a French and American production, the film is today considered to be one of the most popular films in the world. as a cult film, despite the very mixed reviews it received at the time. In any case, the profession recognized Besson's talent for creating sci-fi universes in cinema, since he won the award. the César for best director for the film. 

#10 La Zone du Hors, by Alain Damasio (1999)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of

Often considered (rightly) as the voice of contemporary French Science Fiction, Alain Damasio is the author of three novels, which are three absolute masterpieces. We could therefore also have mentionedLa Horde du Contrevent (2004) andLes Furtifs (2019), but we ultimately opted for them. for his first novel,The Outside Zone.In 2084, on a ring of Saturn, a society pseudo-democratic system is based on the consent of the inhabitants to monitor each other. Wonderfully well written, often poetic,The Outside Zoneis one of the most important titles in the literature of the French imagination. Read it!

#11 Mars Express, by J&eac;rémie Perrin (2023)

After the excellent animated seriesLastman, Jérémie Perrin signed in 2023 his first animated feature film withMars Express. Telling the adventures of a private detective and the android replica of her deceased partner,Mars Express mixes with a crazy efficiency the codes of film noir and cyberpunk. With its sequences of great prowess in terms of staging, the film is a total success.Mars Expressalso succeeds in perfectly reappropriates the codes of its most illustrious elders, from Blade Runner by Ridley Scott (1982) to Total Recall < /em>by Paul Verhoeven (1990), through the imagination of Métal Hurlant, the animated film Les Maitres du Temps  by René Laloux and Mœbius (1982) andGhost in the Shell by Mamoru Oshii (1995). A masterpiece!

#12 La Route, by Manu Larcenet (2024)

The Fifth Element, Planet of the Apes: the 15 best works of French SF

Of course, The Road by Cormac McCarthy is an American novel. However, its adaptation into a comic strip by the always excellent Manu Larcenet (Blast,The Brodeck Report) is clearly one of the greatest achievements of all. literary achievements of the year. The designer sublimates McCarthy's text with his drawings as sumptuous as they are desperate. Larcenet completely reappropriates the post-apo monument, and shines in particular in his way of adapt the dialogues of the novel. We strongly recommend that you discover this new masterpiece, which will haunt you long after reading. À read urgently!

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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