Tykho Moon (1996)

Anyone familiar with the work of Enki Bilal can, of course point out all the familiar elements:

There is the decaying future, where most people suffer from terrible health problems caused by polution.  There are the cyberpunkish SF elements, biotech and robotics. There is an amnesiac character.  There is the protagonist drawn into things against his will.  There is the girl, who is part of some conspiracy but wants out. There are the complex layers of political intrigue, which drive most of the events in the story even if the main characters are totally disinterested in them. And there are the people bleeding bright blue blood.

And yet, Tykho Moon bears little resemblance to either of his other feature films.

It all takes place on a decaying terrformed Moon colony in the near-ish future, which is ruled with an iron hand by the equally decaying McBee family.  They’re pursuing Tykho Moon, a tissue donor who is compatible with the McBees, and a mysterious group of assassins who are killing the family off one at a time.

The colony itself is all crumbling stone and concrete buildings, with familiar landmarks from around the world mixed together.The people who live there are apparently a random mixture of every race and creed and, while the city is divided up into sectors by Berlin-style walls, there is no visible dome.

Some critics dismiss Enki’s first two films as political satires disguised as SF.  Considering the wealth of SF elements involved – some of which, like the futuristic biotech and the ecological damage caused by its setting, could not easily be removed with out drastically altering the story – it is hard to dismiss them so lightly.

Whatever you care to label it, Tykho Moon is a dark and engaging tres “cool” French thriller for those willing to take a walk on the arty side.

(For my review of Enki Bilal’s first film, see Bunker Palace Hôtel (1989))

(English subtitles can be found here.)

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