Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Blind Spot Series: Belleville Rendez-vous

I actually watched my pick for this month a few weeks ago but I'm getting around to writing this now. Novemeber has been a sad month. With a funeral and plagued by health issues and nasty procedure, I did leave my blog side for a while. It might not looked that way but that's the beauty of scheduling.

At a short but sweet 78 minutes there is so much to take in from this weird and wonderful animation from Sylvain Chomet. The film tells the story about Madame Souza, a elderly lady raising her grandson, Champion. She tries to cheer the boy up after the supposed loss of his parents with varous things, including getting him a puppy named Bruno. Finally she gets hims a tricycle after noticing that he has been following the races in the newspaper. Years later Champion is a professional cyclist and competes in the Tour de France but during the race he is kidnapped by the French mafia and whisked away to New York looking Belleville. Madame Souza naturally pursues, along with Bruno in serach of Champion. Along the way she meets and is aided by the once famous Belleville triplets who were know for their music hall shows. Together they track down the mafia and try to save Champion.

For a film that is just over an hour, the story stretches quite far. With a international cycling race, a chase across open ocean in a peddle boat, an improv music show, the mafia and not to mention the triplets disgusting diet of frogs and tadpoles, its crazy film.

The film was named The Triplets of the Belleville but seeing as they aren't the main focus, I chose to go by the UK title. With barely any dialogue, everything is conveyed through noises, mostly from Bruno and from everyone's expressions. Nothing is lost from the lack of dialogue as body language and action speaks volumes in the right scenes. The story is beautifully and disgustingly laided out with characters either being grossly over drawn or exaggerated, minor characteristics becoming more animal like or resembling objects. The latter applying to the mafia henchmen who are indentical and at one point mould into one and separate. There is one scene that worked perfectly without any words which is in the Triplets flat where they cook and comsume dinner. Their excitment at the different courses of frogs cooked in various ways is polar opposite to Madame Souza who is baffled by what is in front of her.

Music is also a centre point of the film, the soundtrack being delightfully put together, especially in the experimental music show where the Triplets create music from a fridge, newspaper and vacuum, with Souza coming on on a bicycle wheel and sticks.

The style of animation is bizarre. Mostly yellows, greens and brown like colours, dulled and muddied making some characters even more grotesque. The opening sequence of a televised musical hall variety show is an over the top and rather cruel looking take on more well known animation. Everyone is wearing Micky Mouse gloves and its hard to ignore this. All grinning teeth and plastic faces, its an excellent intro to the film, even though, it doesn't really have an significance to the story.

A wonderful animation that I was glad to discover late. Its a very unqiue look at the world and the people that feature. Nothing is quite as it seems despite not being fantasy. I think in a world where 4 old ladies can fight the mob and still manage to sing afterwards is fantastical.

To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.


  1. I'm sorry you had such a sad month :( I hope the new one goes better. I've never heard of this movie before, it looks interesting. Great review!

    1. Thanks Brittany :)

      Hopefully things will be better this month -trying to start with a high.

      The film is great fun, funny and actually quite sweet.