March 13, 2004

The Triplets of Belleville

Seeing this film made me think of comments I heard a number of years ago from writer and director David Mamet. He was talking about the fundamental differences between live plays and films (he began as a playwrite). His claim at the time was that plays, ideally, even if heard on the radio should still be understood; whereas movies all actually strive to be silents. That is, a story visually told with a minimum of dialog. This animation, The Triplets of Belleville, carries precious little dialog, and that's a very good thing for me since the movie is French. However, it's a really cool story told visually. There is a very catchy song that recurs during the course of the film, and that song was nominated for an Oscar this year.

If you watched the Oscars, you've seen little clips from this movie. Besides the song nomination Triplets was also nominated for best animated feature, losing out to Finding Nemo. I didn't see Nemo but I do wish this import would've won the Oscar. I really enjoyed its quirkiness.

The story is rather hard to describe with written words such that it would make sense. But there's a Grandma, and a Grandson who becomes a bicycle racer entered in the Tour de France, but who gets kidnapped during the race by the French Mafia. Grandma and their dog Bruno set out to find him, and they go across the ocean to a city named Belleville which appears to be an amalgam of Paris and New York. There they encounter the Triplets, who are now aging but were once stage singers. (The Oscar-nominated song is their specialty.) They like to eat frogs, and you might find this aspect a little, well, gross.

I wondered, regarding the frogs, if the Triplets' eating of them wasn't somehow symbolic....what with French people being known as frogs and all.

This cartoon (and I mean no insult -- to me anything animated is a cartoon) is like no other that I've seen. Bruno is really the best character and he is the pivotal role too, because he is the one who sniffs out the location of the Grandson. Bruno can smell him on a passing ship as it leaves the harbor in France.

Triplets is fun like an animated film should be, but the non-dialog fully-visual aspect I found just a tiny bit problematic. With no words to keep my ears involved I found myself falling asleep in places where my interest was actually keen to know what was going on. I am a verbal rather than visual person I guess, either that or ADD. I've always suspected the latter.

This guy has a good take, pretty similar to mine, just written better. That's quite a title graphic too.

Posted by Wayne at March 13, 2004 05:40 PM

I just want to tell you how interesting your site is. A lot of great stuff for everybody. See you again my friend.

Posted by: nini at July 9, 2004 02:48 AM

I just wanted to let you know that your site is wonderful. I also saw the movie the triplets of Belleville and in my opinion was excellent. I have seen it four times.

Posted by: R Quiles at December 9, 2004 07:59 PM

Thank you for visiting RQ! I hope you return often.

Posted by: Wayne at December 9, 2004 09:44 PM
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