The Triplets of Belleville: Reviewed.

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.

Favourite Character.

Bruno – the hungry dog. Gaumless, generally confused and driven by the promise of food.

Favourite Scene.

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.

My Bucket List of Indie/Independent films

A list of films I probably should have seen already/ I’ve always wanted to see/ Have been recommended to me.

To broaden my film knowledge horizon I feel there are a number, ten to be precise, of films I really want and probably need to see.  I’ve watched the indie classics, A Clockwork Orange, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting; to name a few, yet I feel they are only the tip of the iceberg. After looking through definitive ‘TOP 50’ lists, I feel I’ve come to a neat list of ten films I can’t wait to watch and review over the next few weeks.

1) The Triplets of Belleville. Directed by Sylvain Chomet. 2003.

The only image of The Triplets of Belleville I have wedged in my mind is that of three fat, middle-aged ladies riding a bicycle. The animation was caricature-esque and frankly, a little bit scary. I’d heard Jonathan Ross review it on Film 2003 and have been fascinated by it ever since. However, whenever I tried to find it in HMV or Virgin (back when it was still open); the sales assistants had either never heard of it and looked at me as if I was crazy or, it wasn’t in stock. So, gradually over time I forgot about it. It wasn’t until I recently watched The Illusionist (also directed by Sylvian Chomet) that it triggered the memory of three fat, middle-aged ladies riding a bicycle. With some frantic searching on google and eager clicking on websites I was re-united with the title again – The Triplets of Belleville. I can’t wait to watch this film!

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2) Being John Malkovich. Directed by Spike Jonze. 1999.

Simple Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men. Righteous Reverend Briegleb in Changeling. Crazed Osborne Cox in Burn After Reading. Who exactly is John Malkovich? Maybe this film will be able to give me the answers.

3) Sideways. Directed by Alexander Pope. 2004.

A film that affected the sales of wine must be very persuasive…

4) Requiem for a Dream. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. 2000.

A film intertwining different perceptions, each one addled by their individual drug addictions. Different story lines and perceptions interlinked are always good ingredients for a complex story, but adding the confusion of addiction and delusion will definitely make this an extremely thrilling storyline.

5) Apocalypse Now. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 1979.

A film that includes a reading of The Hollow Men by Marlon Brando – the notorious scene I’ve always wanted to watch.

6) Hunger. Directed by Steve McQueen. 2008.

An artistically shot film about the harsh 1981 Irish Hunger Strikes in prison and an acclaimed performance by Michael Fassbender. Another one on my “always wanted to watch” list.

7) Shadows. Directed by John Cassevetes. 1959.

A film that was very ahead of its time, displaying inter-racial issues in the 1950’s Beat scene of New York.

8) Donnie Darko. Directed by Richard Kelly. 2001.

A darker version of Harvey? Okay, I’ll give it a try.

9) Eraserhead. Directed by David Lynch. 1997.

After reading list after list of “The best of” or “top 100”, I found this one to always be in the top 10. I think the trailer says it all…it looks, to put it nicely, completely mental. Nightmarish? Probably. The advert alone freaks me out!

10) 127 Hours. Directed by Danny Boyle. 2010.

One of my favourite films is Trainspotting, so it made sense to include a film by Danny Boyle that I haven’t watched yet.

Will some, or all, of these films change my view on the world? Or, simply make for a wasted evening viewing? Only time will tell when I review each one of these films individually over the next few weeks!