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the pathetic caverns - movies by title - Triplets of Belleville

eclectic reviews and opinions

Triplets of Belleville (Les Triplettes de Belleville)

2003, D & S: Sylvain Chomet

This animated film is an almost overwhelming experience. Images of startling beauty -- the first glimpse of Belleville itself is stunning, and literally dizzying -- are mingled with broad, frequently grotesque humor. (You may never look at frog legs the same way again, and the PG-13 rating is certainly earned.) Maybe if you took all the Eastern-ness out of Miyazaki and then stirred in a lot of Ren and Stimpy instead? No, really, is this is probably like nothing else you've ever seen.

The story is told almost completely without dialog, just grunts, sighs, and querulous little sounds -- and gorgeous music and sound design. Madame Souza trains her grandson for the Tour de France from infancy, but the gangsters of the wine industry -- who look rather like hard cigarette packs -- have other ideas and kidnap the lad. She mounts a rescue effort, ultimately enlisting the Triplets of the title, a past-their-prime musical act with quirks both charming and revolting.

The concluding chase scene, for all its inventiveness, goes on more than a bit too long (and the use of computer animation techniques becomes intrusive), but overall, it's a wild, weird ride.

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