Triplets of Belleville, The (France/Belgium/Canada/UK; 78 min.)


directed by: Sylvain Chomet
starring: Michèle Caucheteux; Jean-Claude Donda; Michel Robin
Les Triplettes de Belleville
 
Esmé says: "My favorite movie of the year is a cartoon. I love Granny, Bruno, the Triplets and the music! After I left the theatre, every industrial noise, clank or whistle sounded like music to me. (A little grandmother and fat old dog save her champion bike riding son from the French Mafia with the help of performing, frog-eating triplets)"
 
Laura says: "This truly inventive piece of French animation is delightfully weird and wonderful, a treat for both the eye and the mind. It deserves to be a huge hit or, at the very least, a big cult success. This surreal story champions inventiveness, familial love, determination and love of the arts while poking fun at the differences between Gallic and American cuisines. LES TRIPLETTES DES BELLEVILLE shows influences as diverse as 'Mr. Magoo,' the films of Caro and Jeunet (DELICATESSEN, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN), 'The Family Dog,' the animated 101 DALMATIANS and Warner Brothers' early Merrie Melodies cartoons yet remains a completely unique creation.

"The almost dialogue-free film (sound is exceptional) begins with the young Champion, who looks like one of Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies by way of 'The Addams Family,' and Madame in black and white watching a televised special featuring Les Triplettes singing with guest appearances by Django Reinhardt, Josephine Baker and Fred Astaire (who is eaten by his own shoes!). Color blooms with the arrival of Bruno, a pup who becomes obsessed with the train that rattles by their upstairs window after his tail is run over by Champion's electric one. (The sequences where Bruno barks at the passengers passing by feature the use of slo motion and perspective shifts. Bruno's b&w dreams feature him on the train while the passengers bark at him from Champion's bedroom.)

"Years pass as evidenced by passing seasons and Madame's home and its landscape showing the effects of a World War. The adult Champion has a long, beak of a nose and bulging biceps and his life is dedicated to bicycle training. He strains up hills with grandmother blowing a whistle rhythmically from behind. She balances his wheels while he eats a regimented diet before a massage and bed. All this work comes to naught when Champion is kidnapped with two other cyclists who are all taken on a huge ship across the Atlantic to Belleviille, a fantastical version of NYC from the pages of BABE 2: A PIG IN THE CITY where the chubby Statue of Liberty brandishes a hamburger. Fortunately Madame and Bruno rent a paddle boat and follow, but they lose Bruno in the city. Camped near the sea, Madame uses junk at hand to create music, plucking out the percussive Triplettes hit from years earlier. The sisters, who happen to live nearby, are drawn by the music and bring the unfortunates home where they subsist on the frogs one sister 'fishes' via hand grenade. When Madame discovers that Bruno is being held by a shady French wine importer for nefarious purposes, the odd band assemble a most hilarious rescue mission.

"Director Sylvain Chomet has concocted a classic full of whimsy and heart. The animation (which uses some 3D effects) is sumptuous with a palette of mostly golds, blues and greens giving it a slightly melancholy feel. Music is terrific, taking queues from various movie genres. This one trumps FINDING NEMO just as Michael Eisner has declared 2D animation dead and is a strong recommendation for the 2003 Boston Film Festival (9/5-14) for any animation lovers out there." 5 cats

Review courtesy of Reeling Reviews

 
Michael says: "What a delightful way to finish off the year, with an animated French film where the heroines are four elderly women. THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE is one wacky ride, but it is sure to delight.

"After finding out what makes him happy, Madame Souza has devoted her life to training her grandson for the Tour de France. When he goes mysteriously missing during the race, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch, Bruno, must embark on a dangerous adventure. When things seem at their lowest point, the aged Triplets of Belleville, long ago a famous stage act, step in to help Madame Souza and Bruno accomplish their task.

"With animation that is as weird and wonderful as PINK FLOYD THE WALL, yet in a style that harkens to an age long passed, THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE eschews dialogue for mind-blowing visuals, toe-tapping music, and loving character development that is rare in an animated film. This one's a must see." 4 1/2 cats

 
Robin says: "Champion is lonely little boy, orphaned and living with his loving grandma, Madame Souza. He dreams of winning the Tour de France bicycle race and she, dotingly, buys him his first bike. Granny is also aware of his loneliness and brings him a puppy named Bruno. Champion grows to become a professional cyclist ready to compete in the Tour and Bruno has just, well, grown – to sizable proportions . But, there is mobster trouble brewing for Champion and grandma must save the day, with a little help from Bruno and LES TRIPLETTES DES BELLEVILLE.

"I knew that I was in for a real treat and something extraordinary when the screen fills with the scratchy black and white images from the 30’s that is reminiscent of those old Warner Brothers cartoons that parade the caricature images of the stars of the day, with the likes of cartoon Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Mae West and W.C. Fields. Here, though, we see Josephine Baker, Fred Astaire and Django Reinhardt (guitar aficionados will recognize him) and the title Triplets of Belleville singing their sole hit tune, 'Rendezvous,' in a toe-tapping and beautifully created opening."

"The animation camera pulls back and we see that the image is being shown on a battered black and white TV set being watched by little Champion and his granny in their rickety home smack next to the elevated train. The boy’s bedroom is plastered with posters of his heroes, the winners of the grueling and prestigious Tour. Grandma Souza gives him the aforementioned gifts and Champion’s direction in life is defined.

"Jump ahead some years and the now fully grown Champion is in training with the help of grandma, she with her ever-present whistle tooting out a cadence beat at which Champion will peddle. He is about to participate in his coveted bicycle race and is at the peak of condition. The race begins and grandma follows behind Champion in the support truck. Suddenly, sabotage occurs, sidelining granny. An identical truck takes her place, this one driven by a pair of sinister looking thugs. Soon, their intent is clear and Champion, along with two other racers, is kidnapped by the French Mafia and spirited away.

"Madame Souza - tiny, portly and clubfooted – is not to be deterred as she takes tubby Bruno and sets of in search of Champion. Along the way she is taken in by the now-elderly Triplets and plans are made to follow Champion’s captors across the Atlantic to the town of Belleville where the bicyclists are used to perform their skills for a room full of gamblers. Granny, Bruno and the Triplets head off to America on their rescue mission.

"It is a rare occasion that I get a film rush when I watch a movie. LES TRIPLETTES DES BELLEVILLE is one of those rare occasions. From the beautifully rendered opening number to the imaginative abstractness of the 2-D drawings the film pulled me into its quirky, entertaining story. Using minimal dialog, director Sylvain Chomet tells volumes with the eccentric characters that populate LES TRIPLETTES. My favorites are Madame Souza, probably one of the pluckiest octogenarians you’ll ever see, and the well stuffed but totally loyal Bruno.

"Grandma is ready and willing to take on any hardship to get her beloved Champion back. She doesn’t say much but she is up to the task to rescue her grandson. Bruno has to be one of the great dogs of animation, ranking up there with Pongo & Perdita (101 DALMATIANS (1961)) and Lady & Tramp. Bruno is a yappy, happy little puppy that grows into a rather obese (and still yappy) canine that lives by the train schedule of the very close quartered elevated train. Every 15 minutes, like clockwork, Bruno rushes to the top floor of their shaky home to bark at the passing train. In one of the film’s inspired moments, we are privy to Bruno’s dreams (in black and white) where he is the passenger on the train and the passengers take his place to bark at he rides past.

"The Triplets of LES TRIPLETTES are an odd, funny and endearing trio of old ladies that take Madame Souza’s quest to heart and aid in the rescue of Champion. But, not before they dynamite the nearby lake and harvest and share their favorite food – frogs.

"There are many notable moments of animation excellence through the course of LES TRIPLETTES DES BELLEVILLE. Incredible attention to details, like a television broadcast of Charles De Gaulle speaking to the French nation, are provided throughout. The precise use of sound as a comedic tool is reminiscent of the fine audio work in another wonderful, surrealistic French film, DELICATESSEN. Helmer Chomet shows the influence of the great Jacque Tati with his pointedly minimal use of the spoken word throughout LES TRIPLETTES DES BELLEVILLE. The only words used are song lyrics and the complaints of a waitress when Madame Souza orders hamburgers and can’t pay.

"The 2-D animation is richly done and, though darkly hued, rivals some of the best pen and ink efforts out of Disney studios, especially when considering budget. Sound is also taken to subtle levels with, even, a squeaky wheel being played out to tense ends.

"This short and sweet masterpiece has jumped to my best animation list and will likely be one of my 10 best at the end of the year." 5 cats

Review courtesy of Reeling Reviews

 
Belleville rendez-vous lyrics
 
There have been many visitors to the Chlotrudis website searching for the lyrics to the song Belleville Rendez-vous from the film, TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE. So rather than having people come searching and leave empty-handed, we've decided to include the lyrics, both in French and English here on the webpage.
 
English
French
I won’t finish my life in Timbuktu
Cheeks so tight my lips are turning blue
I'd like to be wrinkled
Utterly wrinkled
Wrinkled like a Triplet from Belleville

Don’t want to wind my days in Acapulco
Stiff as a board dancing tango-tango
I'd love to be twisted
Utterly twisted
Twisted like a Triplet from Belleville
(Come on Girls!)

Refrain:
Swinging Belleville rendez-vous
Marathon dancing doop dee doop
Vaudou Cancan balais taboo
Au Belleville swinging rendez-vous

I won’t be an old man in Singapore
Playing scrabble and eating petits-fours
I want to be wicked,
Utterly wicked,
Wicked like the Triplets from Belleville

I don’t want to end my life in Honolulu
Singing like a bird in an ormolu
I want to be as rough
Every bit as rough
Rough, rough as a Triplet from Belleville

Refrain

I won’t finish my days in Miami Beach
Sweating my heart stalking like an old bitch
I’d like to be flying (Hop!)
Utterly flying (Hop! Hop!)
Flying like a Triplet from Belleville

Don’t mind ending my life in Katmandu
Signing with a sitar and a guru
But I’d prefer to be
Much prefer to be
Swinging with the Triplets from Belleville
(Come on Girls!)

Refrain + Solo + Refrain

J'veux pas finir mes jours à Tombouctou
La peau tirée par des machines à clous
Moi je veux être fripée
Triplement fripée
Fripée comme une Triplette de Belleville

J'veux pas finir ma vie à Acapulco
Danser toute raide avec des gigolos
Moi je veux être tordue
Triplement tordue
Balancée comme une Triplette de Belleville
(Allez les filles!)

Refrain:
Swinging Belleville rendez-vous
Marathon dancing doop dee doop
Vaudou Cancan balais taboo
Au Belleville swinging rendez-vous

J'veux pas finir ma vie à Singapour
Jouer au dico manger des petits fours
Moi j'veux être zidiote
Triplement zidiote
Gondolée comme une Triplette de Belleville

J'veux pas finir ma vie à Honolulu
Chanter comme un zoiseau ça n'se fait plus
Je veux ma voix brisée
Triplement brisée
Swinguer comme une Triplette de Belleville

Refrain

J'pourrai finir ma vie à Katmandou
C'est bien plus doux de faire des rimes en “dou“
Mais je veux être givrée (Hop!)
Triplement Givrée (Hop Hop!)
Et swinguer comme les Tripletes de Belleville
(Allez les filles!)

Refrain + Solo + Refrain