A basic summary.
So, Madame Souza raises her grandson, Champion. She buys him a puppy, Bruno, because she thinks he’s lonely. She realises it is not a puppy he wants but a bicycle! Years pass by and we see Champion as a grown man, training for the Tour de France with the help of Madame Souza. On Champion’s journey round The Tour de France he is mysteriously stolen, Madame Souza and Bruno follow his trace, leading them to the city of Belleville. Hmmm…mysterious. We see Madame Souza and Bruno roaming the streets of Belleville to find Champion. Whilst doing so…they meet the triplets of Belleville who help Madame Souza and Bruno to find Champion.
Now, I won’t reveal the details of the plot because I don’t want to ruin it for you, should you decide to watch this film. (Which I really think you should do).
Why is this film great?
The music. There is no speaking in this animation, dialogue is exchanged for perfectly fitting music – each individual score capturing the character, emotion or tone perfectly. A soundtrack filled with jazz, blues…and even hoovers. The best example of this relationship between image on screen and music has to be the “French Mafia’s theme”.We see a rectangular shaped spy, all dressed in black with shady glasses and a cigarette. He flicks pins into the road to cause a puncture to the passing car, then skulks off accompanied by a slow sneaky bass.
The characters. Chomet has crafted comical, but true to life characters. They are caricature-esque, through exaggerated appearances. The leader of the French Mafia has a bulbous red nose, which takes over his face when he is sniffing his red wine, and Champion has huge thighs from his cycling. Yet, little mannerisms, like Madame Souza pushing up her glasses and Bruno’s wagging tail, are combined with the exaggeration to create characters that are hilariously real.
Bruno – the hungry dog. Gaumless, generally confused and driven by the promise of food.
I managed to find the scene on youtube. Here we see the triplets of Belleville, with the help of Madame Souza, performing at a cabaret quite a few years after their heydays.
This film didn’t change my view on the world, but it was funny. It is at times dark, I won’t ruin it for you…but all I’m saying is there are a few gun shots throughout. Yet, it is combined with humour, so what more could you ask from a film? It’s not going to drastically change your world, but it will make it more comforting. To know I can slide in this DVD, on an evening when it’s dark and rainy outside is a cosy comfort to me. It is one I will watch again.