Finally saw The Triplets of Belleville this weekend. It was nominated this year for best animated feature at the Academy Awards but lost out to Finding Nemo which is a shame because I think of the two, it’s the better, more imaginative, and more mature film.
The story, told almost entirely without dialogue, revolves around a grandmother raising her orphaned grandson. She indulges his love for cycling and helps him train for the Tour de France. When he is mysteriously kidnapped, she doggedly follows his trail to Belleville – a grotesque
hybrid amalgam of Paris, New York, and Montreal. An obese Statue of Liberty holding aloft a hamburger and an ice cream cone welcome ships in her harbour while Montreal landmarks appear in a stretched out and exaggerated way. The climax takes place on a bridge that looks suspiciously like the Jacques Cartier.
It’s a sometimes disturbing film in that it doesn’t attempt to, like mainstream animation, appear “family friendly.” Viewers see a flophouse populated by drug addicts and old prostitutes, several (off-camera) murders, Josephine Baker’s breasts, and an unflushed toilet. Some parents may have an issue with kids seeing the film. I probably wouldn’t prevent them from seeing it but that’s just me.
I think any hardcore fans of animation would definitely enjoy it. Watch it and discover the role the triplets themselves play.