The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Oscar-nominated, surrealist, and fiercely original animation from France

The Very Best

8.9

Movie

Belgium, Canada
French
Animation, Comedy, Drama, Family
2003
SYLVAIN CHOMET
Beatrice Bonifassi, Betty Bonifassi, Charles Linton
80 min

What it's about

When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters—an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire—to rescue him.

The take

Written and directed by the filmmaker Sylvain Chomet, this 2003 French film is, in the strictest sense, an animated comedy film. It's the one that introduced Chomet's name to an international audience. Triplets' visual style, however, it is unlike anything you have ever seen. Focusing on ugliness and imperfection, the characters are deliciously exaggerated, while the animation steers clear of the naturalist hyperrealism, cutesiness, or porcelain perfection of other animated movies. That doesn't mean it's not incredibly detailed. Without much of a dialogue, it tells the story of a young orphan boy, who loves to watch the vivacious jazz of the The Triplets of Belleville trio, and grows up to become a Tour de France racer. He gets kidnapped by sinister characters (the French mafia?) and the beloved jazz trio of his childhood and others come to his rescue. While this film is not for the causal movie watcher, it is a fiercely original piece of hand-drawn animation and a strange, surreal experience.

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