The Triplettes of Belleville (Les Triplettes de Belleville) 2003

Madame Souza (left, sitting) meets theTriplettes in "The Triplettes of Belleville"

This Academy nominated animated movie written and directed by Sylain Chomet is a full entertainment film that achieves a great story without any real dialogue. I applaud any artist who can deliver a tale that transcends a language and can be understood by all; The Triplettes of Belleville¬† does this with amidst a moody European backdrop of muted color and stylishly drawn characters. The story revolves around Madame Souza and her grandson, Champion. The grandson, a world class bicyclist, is captured by the Mafia to race in a mini Tour De France for the mobster’s entertainment. Madame Souza with the help of Champion’s dog, Souza, and the Triplettes of Belleville (smash singing sensations from the 1930’s) embark on a wild journey to free the cyclist. There isn’t much dialogue to the movie, mostly incidental background chatter. The story is conveyed through the use of pantomime gestures and expressive images. Especially eye-catching is the opening number which won an Academy nomination for the song “Belleville Rendez-vous”-reminded me in style of something Robert Crumb introduced us to in Zap comics. Tame enough for most families however there is some brief nudity and a small bit of violence so those with young kids be forewarned.

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