Projections - Movie Reviews
The Triplets of Belleville
Triplets of Belleville
Starring Voices of: Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, Monica Viegas,
Betty Bonifassi, Marie-Lou Gauthier, Line Boudreault
Whimsical, surreal, as well as peculiar but undeniably delightful, The Triplets of Belleville is giddy macabre animation from France. Comic book artist Sylvain Chomet scripts and helms something that will amuse kids over 10, but will especially attract adults, perhaps even beyond art-house venues.

Mostly without dialogue, the hand-drawn anime with some computer-generated 3-D effects, The Triplets of Belleville concerns the small, club-footed Madame Souza assisting her orphaned chubby grandson, Champion, to be a trim, world-class cyclist. The training is taxing, indeed, with the daily workouts culminating in using household items like a vacuum cleaner to warm down in a most unusual way.

Champion is participating in the Tour de France's mountain stage when he's abducted by men in black from the French Mafia. He ends up in Belleville having been taken across the Atlantic. The art director Evgeni Tomov combines elements of Montreal and New York City to craft a stunningly large metropolis.

Key to a bold rescue is granny and the boy's nice dog Bruno from whose eyes much of this imaginative, off-beat tale is seen. But, there are also the aging Belleville Sisters, a trio of singer/dancers known to have performed with the likes of Fred Astaire.

The visual approach obvious is opposite to amazing strides made by Pixar, but Chomet sharply defines characters in broad, geometric shapes. Champion's thighs compare to the best in football and his nose is elongated. And the denizens of Belleville have a kind of sick very overweight look to them.

The music makes fine use of jazz and the swing era with catchy medleys that meld uncannily with the outrageous graphics and over-the top representation of creatures as the pacing feels like a joyous spirit to the finish line.

Fans of Chicken Run and Amelie will find plenty here to make them smile, from Bruno's dreams in black and white, snagging frogs by way of hand grenades, and traveling on a little pleasure pedalo across the ocean. Irreverent in a mildly satirical way when it comes to how the French eat and what the Statue of Liberty is brandishing, The Triplets of Belleville is a galvanizing amalgam of artistry that has much affection for the best in music and comedy.

The Triplets of Belleville

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