The Triplets of Belleville
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plot in a nutshell
This French animated film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated
Feature Film. It's the story of a young boy, orphaned and living with
his grandmother, Mme Souza. She tries to find something to reach the
emotionally distant boy, and finally hits upon a tricycle. The boy
loves it, and cycling becomes his life. While in the Tour de France,
he's kidnapped by the French mafia for nefarious purposes. Mme Souza,
with the help of a dog named Bruno and the title characters (a rather odd
and old vaudeville act), sets out to rescue him.
This is a quirky film on first
viewing, with an odd but tremendously beautiful animation style. It's
almost entirely silent, with very little dialog but absolutely amazing
music. For a story with very few words, it has a lot to say.
Spoiler Free Thoughts
This is one of
those films that's like an ogre - it has lots of layers. At first
viewing, it can be seen as a simple, pretty animated film, with a cute story
and interesting characters. But there's quite a bit going on here, and
given time, this film could become a favorite of yours.
I mentioned earlier, the animation is absolutely gorgeous. A rich,
full style, the characters convey meaning, emotion and feeling through their
expressions and actions. We know how much Souza loves her grandson,
how mindless he is in his pursuit of a goal, how much Bruno hates the train,
and how batty but sweet the Triplets of Belleville are, all without any
much below the surface here however, with many messages about a goal
oriented life, and the emptiness of mass consumerism. Some people have
felt the film is anti-American, with it's portrayal as fat, hamburger
chomping, and loud. But the portrayal of the French is certainly no
more flattering, and it simply laughs at all of us, each with our rather
use of the train in the film, and it's relationship to Bruno, was perhaps
the most interesting. Does it represent consumerism, industrialism and
progress? And if so, what is the film saying about our mindless drive
movie also has one of the more unique car chases in history, and the rescue
of Champion (the grandson) is exciting and fun. The end of the film
leaves us to ponder what the film was really saying though, and may cause
you to reflect on your own goal oriented life. It's not a traditional
'cartoon', but uses the style to be more than just a kid's movie.
Rating - Rent It.
Okay, this movie isn't for everyone. It's quirky and odd, and the
lack of dialog may put some folks off. It's also not for kids, not so
much because of anything that could be construed as violent or obscene
(although the one vaudeville act at the beginning has a bit of a costume
malfunction), but because the movie speaks to many experiences they have yet
to understand. And while some might construe that to mean it's an
'artsy' film, that shouldn't put off the fans of animation. It's a
short movie, only about 75 minutes, so skip a couple sitcoms this week and
check it out.
Spoiler Laden Thoughts
There's nothing to note here - but you may find there's plenty to
discuss after watching it.