Les Triplettes de Belleville
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Les Triplettes de Belleville
(The Triplets of Belleville)
|Directed by||Sylvain Chomet|
|Produced by||Didier Brunner
|Written by||Sylvain Chomet|
|Music by||Benoît Charest|
|Distributed by||Diaphana Films (France Theatrical)
Miramax Films (US Theatrical)
Tartan Films (UK)
|Release date(s)||11 June 2003 (France)
29 August 2003 (UK)
26 November 2003 (US, limited release)
|Running time||78 Minutes|
Les Triplettes de Belleville is a 2003 animated feature film written and directed by Sylvain Chomet. It was released as The Triplets of Belleville in North America, and as Belleville Rendez-vous in the UK. The film features the voices of Michèle Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, and Monica Viegas; there is little dialogue, the majority of the film story being told through song and pantomime. The film was highly praised by audiences and critics for its unique (and somewhat retro) style of animation. It was an international co-production between companies in France, United Kingdom, Belgium and Canada.
Following a 1930s-style cartoon parody featuring the singing Triplettes of the title (Violette, Blanche and Rose, whose names are loosely patterned on the colours of the French flag) in their heyday, as well as caricatures of Django Reinhardt, Glenn Gould, Josephine Baker, Charles de Gaulle, Oscar Levant, and Fred Astaire, the story focuses on Madame Souza, an elderly Portuguese emigrant woman raising her grandson Champion.
Seeking to pull him out of his funk, she buys the child a tricycle, and as the years pass he achieves such excellence as a cyclist that he enters the Tour de France. Bizarrely, he and two other riders are kidnapped and brought to the bustling metropolis ironically called Belleville ("Beautiful Town").
The mostly grotesquely obese and almost all inhumane inhabitants of Belleville represent caricatured 1950s-era stereotypes. The pint-sized French mafiosi, with their heavily armed henchmen, place wagers on the three buccaneered riders who, when not chained in a basement during the day, are forced to pedal all night on a bicycle-based gambling machine located in the bowels of the Belleville French Wine Center. (The motto In vino veritas appears frequently throughout the film on the sides of lorries, et al.) With the aid of her dog Bruno, Madame Souza sets off on a paddle boat journey to the city of Belleville. There she meets the Triplettes, now old and poor and their looks long gone, but kind. The indivisible trio still performs in public in their new, senilescent way, and they often break into impromptu music jams when prodded by even the most rudimentary musical sounds.
The four women and Bruno set out to rescue Madame Souza's grandson.
There are references to the French director Jacques Tati's films Jour de Fête and Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot, whose combination of pantomime with sound effects was an influence on The Triplets of Belleville.
Citroën vehicles influenced the design of the vehicles in the film: the mobsters' getaway cars are stretched versions of the Citroën 2CV, and the vehicle that Madame Souza uses whilst her grandson is in the Tour de France is a Citroën HY van. She has a near accident with a Citroën DS while training Champion in the beginning of the movie.
The film's music is inspired by that of the 1920s, and includes characters reminiscent of Josephine Baker, Fred Astaire, Glenn Gould and a Django Reinhardt-like character who plays along to the dancing Triplettes as Charles Trenet conducts the band. Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude No. 2 from The Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1), is also featured during the bicycle scene (played by Glenn Gould).
In the liner notes of the soundtrack CD, Benoît Charest indicated that his music ideas stemmed from his desire to see if he could make a song using a refrigerator, a vacuum, and a piece of paper. These "instruments" in fact show up both in the film and on the soundtrack.
The film makes coy references to fundamental physics. For instance, the opening credits are set in a frame which contains the Einstein Field Equations, the basis of General Relativity, along the bottom of the picture.
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, making it the first PG-13 animated film to be nominated in that category, and Best Original Song (Benoît Charest and Sylvain Chomet for the song "Belleville Rendez-vous", sung by Matthieu Chedid in the original version). It also has won the César for Best Film Music, and as a co-production with Canada it won the Genie Award for Best Motion Picture and the BBC Four World Cinema Award in 2004.
- Les Triplettes de Belleville
(The Triplets of Belleville) at Allmovie
- Official website (French)
- Official website (Sony-classics)