The Triplets of Belleville

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      If you are like me and you can't stay awake through animated films like Monsters Inc., Ice Age or even Finding Nemo without a double espresso, then I have the film for you. It is The Triplets of Belleville.  This new animated movie is delightfully different and kept me awake through most, if not all of it.  The Triplets of Belleville tells the story of a French grandmother caring for her grandson.  He loves bicycling so she begins to train him to compete in the Tour de France. She does this by following behind him in a tricycle blowing on a whistle and then massaging his bulging muscles with an egg beater. While racing, the grandson is kidnapped by the Mafia and taken to Belleville.  Grandma and her devoted dog take off in hot pursuit of the kidnappers.  She eventually enlists the help of three sisters who used to be a singing group known as The Triplets of Belleville.  Now they are somewhat eccentric to say the least. There's really no way to explain the plot.

    This is a very imaginative film both in its story and its animation.  Even though this is a french film (a France-Belgium-Canada co-production), no subtitles are necessary.  The characters do not speak but are nonetheless very expressive. This includes the dog.  Some of the best bits in the film are the dog's dreams which are portrayed in black & white. They are hilarious.  Basically, the writer/director of The Triplets of Belleville, Sylvain Chomet, is one seriously whacked-out guy. His first film, La Vieille dame et les pigeons, is about a man who thinks he's a pigeon. The Triplets of Belleville is only slightly more conventional.  The animation seems to be the product of a fevered mind, but it is very entertaining and a feast for the eyes.  I quite enjoyed it even though it is a bit too long and gets a little bit draggy in the middle. The Triplets of Belleville is nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. It definitely deserves to win over its more conventional rivals, Finding Nemo and Brother Bear. In the theatre along with The Triplets of Belleville, they are showing a great bonus film.  It is an animated Short, Destino, that was begun 60 years ago by Walt Disney and Salvidore Dali, and has finally been finished by Walt's nephew, Roy. Destino is nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short. These two films are both worth seeing.