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Sunday, January 23, 2011

'The Triplets of Belleveille' Are A Delight

 The Triplets of Belleville: 4 1/2 out of 5


(Because of a new film from this director, Sylvain Chomet, is coming out, I've decided to post my old review from this film, which I absolutely adore)
The Triplets of Belleville: Swinging Belleville rendevouz/ Marathon dancing, doop-de-doo

This is a strange French animated feature that combines interesting and absurd visuals, a satirical sense of humor, and sweet lead characters. It also combines jazz, noir, mafia, bicycle racing, frogs, and car chases into a great comedic mix.

The story involves a shy boy living with his grandmother. In an effort to raise his spirits, she gets him a loving dog, who develops a dislike for trains. She also buys him a bicycle.  Years later, the boy has grown up into a very skinny, but trained bicycle rider who plans to race in the Tour de France. Unfortunately during the race, he and some other racers are kidnapped by the mafia, to provide for their own schemes.  Now it is up to the Grandmother and her dog to find the boy. They have to travel to the grand city of Belleville to find him, and eventually gain the help of the famed singers - the Triplets of Belleville.


There is no real dialogue in this movie. There are some French songs and background voices from crowds and the TV, but no character speaks in this film. It is all about its music and having the characters recognize the actions that must be taken.

The animation style is wonderful, using hand drawn mixed with some CG elements, to create this unique world with literal translations of characters based on what their personalities essentially have them doing.  I love a lot of the imagery we see, such as how these characters are designed, how exaggerated some of the architecture is, and how these elements play into the story.



I also love the sense of humor that this film has.  The way some subtle jokes and some running jokes are incorporated into this film is just such a great sight to see.  The film manages to add the elements without going too far, but still manages to keep a sense of drama and narrative momentum as well.  I have described early on all of the random adjectives that could describe what one would see in this film, and those are all part of what makes this film work and be very entertaining.

The result is a film that looks and sounds great. You feel for some of these characters, enjoy what is going on, and are immersed into this unique world. It may not be for everyone and their are some dark elements to earn it the PG-13 rating to discourage younger children, but I love watching and listening to this movie.
Madame Souza: Is that it, then? Is it over, do you think? What have you got to say to Grandma? 

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