Film: The Triplets of Belleville

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Film:

The Triplets of Belleville

Director: Sylvain Chomet
Honors:
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Distributor: Sony Pictures

Words cannot capture the delights of The Triplets of Belleville, an astonishing animated movie from the mind of French director Sylvain Chomet. In fact, there are only a few spoken sentences in the entire film; most of the soundtrack is a mix of squeaks, barks, and the jazzy music of Benoit Charest. A bicyclist is kidnapped from the Tour de France by mysterious gangsters; his grandmother travels to the city of Belleville (which has a sardonic version of the Statue of Liberty in its harbor), where she tracks him down with the help of a musical trio gone to…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Words cannot capture the delights of The Triplets of Belleville, an astonishing animated movie from the mind of French director Sylvain Chomet. In fact, there are only a few spoken sentences in the entire film; most of the soundtrack is a mix of squeaks, barks, and the jazzy music of Benoit Charest. A bicyclist is kidnapped from the Tour de France by mysterious gangsters; his grandmother travels to the city of Belleville (which has a sardonic version of the Statue of Liberty in its harbor), where she tracks him down with the help of a musical trio gone to seed, the Belleville Triplets. This hand-drawn movie is unlike anything you’ll see from Disney; every scene mixes the silent comedy of Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton—in which the world of objects subtly fights with living beings for mastery—and the bouncy hop of Betty Boop. Unique and mesmerizing. —Bret Fetzer

Barnes and Noble

A cartoon movie like no other, French animator Sylvain Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville manages to remain thoroughly original while evoking a sublime wealth of influences. The story itself is mildly off-the-wall: A roly-poly French grandma teams up with a trio of quirky, aging cabaret singers to save her grandson, a rail-thin Tour de France cyclist kidnapped by mobsters as part of a bizarre gambling scheme. The strange scenario’s execution is more wildly imaginative than can be put into words, rendered in a jazzy, 1920s and ‘30s style that swings to Benoit Charestin’s original score. The computer-free animation is at times deliciously crude, and the art is more expressionistic than anything—frogs rain from the sky, a refrigerator and vacuum cleaner function as musical instruments, and a mâitre d’ literally bends over backward. Ultimately, the imagery and physical comedy are so engrossing that the movie’s total lack of dialogue goes unnoticed. Indeed, Triplets could play alongside Charlie Chaplin’s silent comedies or Jacques Tati’s beloved M. Hulot films (which are duly referenced), as it offers a symphony of movement and sight gags that makes for a viewing experience that leaves one spellbound and smiling. Tony Nigro

Related Works

Album:The Triplets of Belleville: Soundtrack

The Triplets of Belleville: Soundtrack

Ben Charest

Taking the cue for its visual conception from sources as diverse as British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe and the antic, rubbery surrealism of Tex Avery’s Warner Bros. Cartoons of the 30’s, this madcap caper from French writer/director Sylvain Chomet is one of the most delightfully skewed animated films in recent memory. Scoring such a thorough original is no easy task, but composer/musician Benoit Charest has more than risen to the occasion. Charest manages to evoke the loopy musical spirit of legendary Warner and Disney animation legend Carl Stalling in an entirely…

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