Review of 'Belleville Rendez-vous (Les triplettes de Belleville)'

belleville_rendez-vous.jpg The elderly Madame Souza (voiced by Monica Viegas) is troubled by her young grandson's lack of direction until he shows an interest in bicycle racing. She encourages this, training him as a young man to participate in the Tour de France. While there he is kidnapped by a mysterious crime syndicate who wish to harness his super-athletic cycling powers. Madame Souza traces them to Belleville where she teams up with a group of night-club singers, “The Triplets of Belleville” to find her son.

This is simply an amazing piece of animation told, largely, without any dialogue. The initial historical background sequence is reminiscent of classic Disney animations is followed by the roughly-drawn style used throughout the film. Chomet is able to instil in this piece a feeling of warmth and personality with extreme exaggeration really bringing the piece to life - The waiter's extremely flexible frames bent in the shape of a “C”, the grotesque bulging leg muscles of the cyclists contrasting with their skinny torsos, the extreme bulk of the dog's body with his tiny legs, the ship whose elongated hull puts it's cabins up into the clouds, etc.

The story is amusing though simply serving to provide a reason for some wonderful, imaginative scenes. Indeed, it is never quite clear what will happen next as the director has free reign. The family's old, overweight dog, is used to great comedic effect in what might otherwise be quite a serious piece, as he relentlessly barks at passing trains.

A classic of modern animation from a brilliant director, Sylvain Chomet, showcasing fantastic wit and imagination.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2020-03-29

Directed by: Sylvain Chomet

Studio: Les Armateurs

Year: 2003

Length: 80 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Sylvain Chomet: