Light Years (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Light Years (Original French: Gandahar) is a 1988 French animated science fiction and fantasy film. The original version was directed by René Laloux, and was based on Jean-Pierre Andrevon's novel Les Hommes-machines contre Gandahar (The Machine-Men versus Gandahar). An English version was produced by Harvey Weinstein, and noted science-fiction author Isaac Asimov made the revision of the translation. The English title is a translation, not of the original title, but of the original tag line "Les Années lumière" ("The Light Years") as seen on the French poster.

The animation was in colour and ran for 83 minutes. Voice actors for the original French version included Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Catherine Chevallier, Georges Wilson, Anny Duperey, Jean-Pierre Ducos, and Jean-Pierre Jorris. Among the actors providing the voices for the English-language version were Glenn Close, Jennifer Grey, Terrence Mann, Penn and Teller, John Shea, Bridget Fonda, David Johansen, Earle Hyman, Earl Hammond and Christopher Plummer. Production work was done by SEK Animation Studio of North Korea. The film is notable for its strange scenery and exotic flora, fauna, and bizarre inhabitants.


The paradise world of Gandahar is threatened by a mysterious power, so Queen Ambisextra and the Council of Women send the warrior Sylvain to scout for this danger. He discovers metallic humanoids with a paralyzing ray who send the bodies of those they capture through a portal. Later these individuals return, also encased in metal.

Airelle serves as the love interest for Sylvain. He meets "The Deformed," a group of mutants who Sylvain at first mistakes for the enemy.

The cause of this terror is traced to the giant brain Metamorphis, although Metamorphis is puzzled about how he could be the cause. The metal humanoids are coming back in time from the future, so Metamorphis offers to place Sylvain in stasis until that time. Sylvain awakens in 1,000 years as planned, and destroys the old, weakened, and now insane, Metamorphis.


A DVD release of Gandahar, in French with English subtitles, was released in October 2007 by Eureka!'s Masters of Cinema label.

As of July 2008, the English-language DVD of Light Years was on sale at the Nocturnal Pictures Web site.


  • The English version does not contain most of Gabriel Yared's soundtrack for the original version of the film. New music was produced for certain sequences in the English-language version of the film, these new pieces were created by the combined efforts of: Jack Maeby, Bob Jewitt and Jim Klein.
  • A certain scene in the English version was edited due to sexuality – the scene where Airelle and Sylvain are in the nest. In the uncut version, Sylvain is shown removing his shirt, later, he and Airelle are shown lying nude in the nest at night, seemingly after having been intimate with one another.
  • The original soundtracks of Gandahar and Comment Wang-Fô fut sauvé are available on Gabriel Yared's CD Film Music Vol. 5.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Light Years (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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