In this animated French film, a boy named Champion trains relentlessly for the Tour de France, with the help of his loyal grandmother and overweight dog, Bruno (who loves to bark at passing trains). When the big race comes, Champion and a few of his fellow racers are kidnapped by some box-shouldered thugs who spirit them off to Belleville (a surreal impression of 1930s-1950s Manhattan) where they are forced to peddle as part of a clandestine gambling operation. Bruno and grandma set out across the sea in a paddle boat to rescue their boy, but once ashore they soon become lost, hungry and penniless, that is until the frog-eating Triplets of Belleville, former scat singing jazz prodigies turned experimental musicians, come to their rescue.
Filled with inspired, twisted imagery, this nearly dialogue-free film is a crowd-pleaser of unusual power, with the strange, measured pacing of a dream, and a great soundtrack of bizarre alternate-reality '30s jazz. It also has offers a touching and believable evocation of a dog's life. A great throwback to the time before animation became dominated by CGI effects; TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE
is a very strange, very loving French salute to obsession, affection, and persistence.
THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE
will be preceded by the short film DAY OFF THE DEAD
Written and Directed by Lee Lanier
Dead Guy and Dead Gal find themselves in a surreal, animated Dead World, where lost souls try to make their earthly desires come to life.
Characters dance while a bone motif whirls around a blazing sun in the skies overhead. Elvis is on the street corner. A boy flirts with a girl. OK, they're all dead, but you can't hold that against them. Won't we all be dead... eventually? These stiffs are far from stiff, and that can mean only one thing: it must be their day off.
One of the things that interested me about Day Off the Dead is that it was made by about a dozen different artists and animators working in their spare time at their own homes, communicating with directors Lee Lanier and Jeffrey Dates via the internet. For free. For the LOVE of it. Now, you would think that the result you'd get from a working situation like this would be a scattered and rather disconnected product, at best. But you'd be wrong. It is a testament to the caliber of artists that formed the team, as well as the creative minds at the helm of this film, that the result holds together as a unified whole. And a good one at that.
click here to visit the official website