The Triplets of Belleville

Film , Animation
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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The Triplets of Belleville

The new century is shaping up to be a fine time for world animation, not least for child's eye features packed with the old fashioned virtues of fantasy, adventure, ingenuity and derring-do - and more or less faithful to traditional cel-animation aesthetics. Miyakazi's Spirited Away may have the scale and sweep to josh with Pixar's Finding Nemo, but clock the Francophone 'toons: Senegalese fair tale Kirikou and the Sorceress, the Tintin-esque Bécassine and the Viking Treasure, and this first feature from the director of the baroque Parisian short The Old Lady and the Pigeons. Admittedly, its perspective is more dog's eye than child's, but that's in keeping with Chomet's skewed stance on all matters human. There's a whiff of wishful re-imagining the world in that title, and certainly at large in the story. Our hero's hometown mushrooms monstrous in the blink of years, and it befalls some shady kidnappers to whisk him across the Atlantic to the alternate metropolis of Belleville, a lavish Québecois twist on Manhattan. In between, our orphaned Champion grows up under the spartan watch of the clubfooted Madame Souza, who rears him as the racing cyclist equivalent of a prize ox, all piston thighs and baleful eyes. Meekly strapped to the wheel(s), he's subsequently rigged up like a human dynamo to a miniature toy model of himself, with a projected racing film for blinkers. How's that for an animator's caustic self-portrait? For sanity's sake, probably best to analyse no further, but rather relish the film's deadpan grotesquery, its flair for invention, be it the fanciful narrative segues or various object lessons in customising a vacuum cleaner, and the almost blasé beauty Chomet slips in alongside the caricature. Pretty fruity, really.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Duration: 81 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sylvain Chomet
Screenwriter: Sylvain Chomet
Cast: Monica Viegas
Helen Wambolt
Graziella de Vila
Noël Baye
Suzy Falk

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Anaelle
Tastemaker

For lack of a better word, I’m going to call this movie ‘weird’ – but this doesn’t give the film justice, nor does it really define its style and look. “Triplets” is a special oddball of a movie that, if you give it the time, turns out to be a little gem.


No dialogue, a dirty and voluntarily flawed drawing style, eclectic music and a crazy plotline – this is what you get. But the adventures of the little grandma and her grandson will hook you in. Evolving in a harsh and unfair world, the characters are simply trying to get by but their inerrant optimism will leave you feeling good and with a smile on your face. A true heart-warming movie that’s hard to forget!