Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Triplets of Belleville

I think I can safely say that I've never seen another animated movie quite like this one. I don't think there is another movie quite like this one.

First of all, while it's not a silent movie (the music is great throughout), it's a movie almost entirely without words. Which is fine because they've unnecessary; you can figure everything out just by watching.

It's the story of a young boy who's living with his grandmother. He's unhappy (maybe because of the deaths of his parents), so she buys him a puppy. That helps, but what really enchants him is bicycles. So she buys him a trike.

Time passes (a really nice sequence), and the next thing we see is the grandmother training her now grown grandson for the Tour de France. During the race, he and two other riders are kidnapped by some nefarious gangster types. The dauntless grandmother tracks them all way way across the sea (they use a ship; she uses a paddleboat) to Belleville, where she eventually rescues him with the help of the titular triplets, elderly singers who were seen on a TV screen in the film's opening sequence.

I have to admit that I had no idea where the movie was going when it began, which was part of the fun that I've spoiled for you with a plot summary. But that aside, there are still the pleasures of the score, the wonderful animation of more and more grotesquely exaggerated characters, the great look of the whole thing, and the sometimes dark, sometimes gentle humor. The grandmother and the dog are my favorite characters, but those triplets are remarkable, and their eating habits are hilarious. Check this one out if you haven't seen it.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:36 AM

    I have seen it and I'll probably see it a dozen more times before I die. Great flick.

    -- Jerry House

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  2. Absolutely love this movie. Reminds me that there are still totally original minds at work. Thanks for reminding me to put it on Netflix for another view.

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  3. I'm just sorry I didn't get to it sooner.

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  4. Todd Mason11:30 PM

    You might not be too surprised to learn that a similar spirit imbues a number of particularly European short animated films, of the sort that used to be collected in the late '70s by the much-missed PBS series INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL...nearly dialog-free items, which TRIPLETS reminded me of intensely when I caught it in a theater upon its US release. Not even the National Film Board of Canada packages that hit the art-theater circuits tend to have quite as much of what we have here in them as the old Jane March-hosted half-hours.

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  5. I'm sure this movie is really great on the big screen. I missed most of that PBS series, but I did catch a few shows.

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