A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

film and television
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE (article first published : 2004-12-19)

So you thought two-dimensional animation had nothing left to offer the world, right? Wrong! And The Triplets of Belleville, a superlative, hugely inventive French-Canadian-Belgian production, deservedly nominated earlier this year for Oscars for best animated feature and best song (Belleville Rendezvous), proves it.

Writer-director and character designer Sylvain Chomet, a name to watch, has crafted his debut feature film using only brief snatches of dialogue but with magical sound design and a glorious, 30s-inspired jazz score. And if that all sounds awfully pretentious and off-putting, don't let this steer you away from what is one of the best movies of the year.

Even my 10-year-old, initially appalled at the thought of no dialogue, gave the film a double thumbs-up and has asked to see it again.

Supremely stylish in execution, and using bizarrely caricatured characters, surreal settings and a palette of mostly beiges, browns, greys, oranges and blacks, the film sees Chomet fill every sequence of his 82-minute masterpiece with moments to cherish.

Tackling issues of tenacity and love, the story centres on a diminutive French grandmother, Madam Souza, who raises her sad, orphaned grandson, Champion, and buys him a puppy called Bruno. The boy is then introduced to the joys of cycling, about which he becomes passionate.

Years pass and while Bruno grows into an obese, slobby hound tottering on toothpick thin legs, so his beak-nosed master grows into a painfully thin adult but with gargantuan thigh and calf muscles from the constant cycling training he gets from his whistle-blowing granny.

Champion's aim is to win the Tour de France but members of the mafia put an end to his dream when they kidnap him, whisk him off to a New York-like metropolis populated by grossly overweight people and involve him in an illegal gambling racket.

Madam Souza and Bruno then set out to find and rescue Champion - and get help from the once-famous, female singer-musicians of the movie title. The triplets are frog-eating old-timers who, in the 30s, performed with the likes of Fred Astaire, Django Reinhardt and Josephine Baker, all cleverly depicted in a delightful opening montage which has Astaire's shoes growing teeth to devour him.

Chomet's film gushes with memorable, offbeat scenes, among them Madam Souza giving a massage to Champion that involves a push-mower and a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum-cleaner finds another novel use later in the film when the triplets use it to make music.

Worth mention, too, is a scene in which one of the triplets does a spot of fishing with a difference, while a series of black-and-white sequences depicting the troubled dreams of Bruno, a canine with a penchant for barking at passing trains, are cleverly realised and very amusing.

A film choc-a-bloc with surprises and delights, The Triplets of Belleville is a must for any lover of animation. Rating 10/10 - Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart