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Overall Rating
4.38

Awesome61.54%
Worth A Look: 26.92%
Average: 3.85%
Pretty Bad: 3.85%
Total Crap: 3.85%

3 reviews, 34 user ratings


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Triplets of Belleville, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"Whimsical and brilliantly surreal."
5 stars

Almost dialogue-free, Sylvain Chomet's lovely little animated feature Belleville Rendez-Vous (a/k/a The Triplets of Belleville) proves indubitably that a gloriously line-drawn picture is worth a thousand words.

Belleville Rendez-Vous opens in a 1930s musical hall in France, with the renown singing and dancing Belleville Triplets, Violette, Rose, and Blanche, performing on stage with Josephine Baker in her trademark bananas, Fred Astaire tapping away in carnivorous shoes, and Django Reinhardt on guitar. It is only when an "Excuse the Interruption" card appears on screen that we realize we are seeing the performance in a 1950s telecast, through the eyes of Champion, a young orphan boy, and his grandmother, Madame Souza.

Madame clearly loves her grandson but seems unable to engage the lonely, overweight, and unhappy boy in any interests. Although she tries, to no avail, to entice him with music, model trains, and a puppy named Bruno, it is only when she spots a picture of his parents on a bicycle and unearths his photo album that she realizes his interest in cycling. Buying him a tricycle, Grandma Souza finds her purpose in life, and Champion finds his joy.

Fast-forward to the 1960s, to a buffed-up but exhausted Champion training for the Tour de France, with Grandma Souza as unrelenting head coach. Meanwhile, a decidedly UN-buffed Bruno spends his time barking at the trains that have encroached on their little home, having had his tail run over in his youth by the model in Champion's bedroom.

For reasons of their own, the French Mafia intrudes on the Tour, kidnapping Champion and two other cyclists, spiriting them away on an ocean liner. On the hunt to recover their Champion, the intrepid Grandma Souza and Bruno follow the liner across the ocean in a paddleboat, landing in Belleville, a wondrous amalgam of Paris, Montreal, and New York populated by a dizzying array of overweight grotesques.

Dispirited and homeless, Madame Souza tries to entertain herself and Bruno by playing percussion on a bicycle wheel, catching the attention of the now wizened but still spry Triplets, who open their home to the pair.

Their apartment crammed with memorabilia from their glory days, the sisters still live joyous lives, dining on their own swamp-caught frogs, watching M. Hulot's Holiday on television, and entertaining themselves and their audiences with a variety of kitchen implements and household appliances as their "instruments," inviting Madame Souza to join them on bicycle rim.

Their joie de vivre spilling over into the hunt for Champion, the quintet devises a delightful rescue scheme fueled by a clue in one of Bruno's black-and-white dreams and featuring a wonderfully inventive use of an orthopedic shoe as a means of dispatch, complete with a rendition of La Marseillaise.

Even if you are one who doesn't normally stay through a movie's credits, this time sit still for the extra few minutes for a delightful bonus scene.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8362&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/24/04 10:26:52
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/24/12 roscoe awful. one of the worst animated features 1 stars
8/23/11 Annie G Another out there French animated film with little dialog … weird genre. 3 stars
6/11/09 karamashi An incredible film! Surreal and Beautiful. 5 stars
10/02/08 brian Brilliant brilliant brilliant!!!! Best film of the 21st century. 5 stars
9/14/08 Adolf Hitler Unbelievable! Great! Can I watch the movie? I want some money please. 5 stars
3/03/06 sbpat21 so weird, it's wonderful 5 stars
6/12/05 J Howard Each character played their part so well! 5 stars
5/22/05 JFK great animation. Excellent made. not a great story though 4 stars
11/15/04 Gabby Brilliant. Artistically beautful and mesmorising. Intelligent animation. 5 stars
8/20/04 Nessus BOOORING! Glacially slow plot (what plot there is), unsympathetic characters. Pretentious 1 stars
7/30/04 Rus cool animation, but its just retarded french people trying to make fun of america 4 stars
7/28/04 Mike Devans HILARIOUS.... What the hell were these guys on 5 stars
6/17/04 alien assassin an inventive approach to animation 4 stars
5/24/04 DM What the fuck was that? And where can I get some more? 5 stars
5/23/04 john bale Slow paced quirky grotesque but amusing paying some homage to Mr. Magoo. Good music & FX. 4 stars
5/18/04 JoeManco The best song I've heard in a movie in a long time. Hell, the best, period. 5 stars
5/15/04 Lord Durvok 2 This could kick Finding Nemo's ass and should have won the Oscar. 5 stars
5/13/04 Helen Bradley Excellent visually average story very original too long 3 stars
3/26/04 Sarah Wentz Clever, kooky, and worth watching. Also buy the soundtrack! 5 stars
3/23/04 Mitch wow ! I loved it. It was like an animated Jaque Tati film,with "le jazz hot". 5 stars
3/17/04 MF Lunacy, storytelling and good music.. what more could you ask for in entertainment? 5 stars
3/06/04 Jill S. magnifique! 5 stars
3/05/04 davebo a unique style and amusing story 4 stars
3/01/04 Kelley animation was beautiful, way the story was set up w/ little dialog, the music..awesome 5 stars
2/26/04 Meredith Harshaw One giant leap for animation? Perhaps. But one puny stumble for entertainment. 2 stars
2/26/04 Cindy Ames Bizarre -- sometimes inventive but mostly boring. 2 stars
2/26/04 Angolmois Incredible visuals in a surrealistic setting, but the ending is kind of conventional. 4 stars
2/25/04 john wondrously loony 5 stars
2/22/04 Titus Slow at points, but overall quite good. Go see. 4 stars
2/13/04 snowconehead Burns bright, but only for a little while 5 stars
1/28/04 René Cournoyer Musical genius by Benoit Charest 5 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Exceptionally good, unique animated film. 5 stars
1/01/04 Dave Ortega Exceptional animation/wholly original 5 stars
12/30/03 Greg Edmiston Bizarre, humorous, subtle, and a great experience. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Nov-2003 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-May-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  13-May-2004




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