Monday, February 15, 2010

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

Apparently the French decided to punish America for all the jokes by calling us fat in an obscure animated film.

If originality and creativity still count for something, The Triplets of Belleville might be the best movie ever made. It's rare to see a movie in this day and age that you can truly call unique, but this one certainly qualifies. It's nothing like the animated films you have ever seen. Both the style and the content here are marvelous and the film does makes a compelling case for animation as an adult art form rather than simply for kids. The Triplets of Belleville is a whimsical, outrageous and downright fantastic animated film that get's overlooked for some unknown reason.

When her grandson goes missing during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her portly pup Bruno go searching. They end up in Belleville, A.K.A America, where they team up with an aging song and dance team called the Triplets of Belleville. Together, they must try to defeat the maniacal French mafia and rescue Souza's grandson before it's too late. The film was directed by auteur French animator Sylvain Chomet and was released to wide critical success for a foreign animated feature that didn't come from Japan. It recieved two Oscar nominations, one in for Best Animated Feature, in that category's debut, and one for best original song. Even with the acclaim, the movie remains the best animated film that no one has seen for no apparent reason.

Where The Triplets of Belleville shines above everything else is in pure, unique style. This style is readily apparent in the film's visuals and, more importantly, in the movies use of sound and music. The animation style here is truly stunning. Chomet opts out of the usual precision that you see in hand-drawn animated films for a really effective sketched style. Coupled with his flair for exaggeration and this creates truly distinct looking characters and locals. The film is a joy to look at and one of the most effective uses of animation as a medium in a long time. As good as the visual style is, the sound blows it away. The soundtrack, in all it's toe-tapping glory is one of the best in recent memory, the title song is one of the coolest pieces of music I've heard in a long time, and the sound effects, which are doubly important since the film sports no real dialog, are out of this world. It's easy to see that I have great respect for films that can convey a story with little or no dialog, the first half of Wall-E for example, and this is one of the best examples of evocative, dialog-less story telling I have ever seen.

The Triplets of Belleville is a movie that deserves to be listed amongst the best animated films out there. It's a fantastic introduction to the world of foreign animated films in the same what that Miyazaki is. You'll be doing yourself a favor by seeing this film and it comes with one of my highest recommendations. Whenever I recommend something obscure, I like to back up my recommendation with a something more tangible than my words. That means a clip. Enjoy!


1 comment:

Robert said...

Ahhh! Triplets of Belleville is amazing. The music and visuals really work together to create something spectacular. I guess my only complaint was that it ended too abruptly...I wish it could have just kept going on longer and longer. haha