dir. SYLVAIN CHOMET | France, Belgium, Canada 2003 | 80 mins
"Tour de France/Tour de France/Tour de France", sing the German band Kraftwerk. And so will you after watching the film by Sylvain Chomet. Sing softly...
Although only five years have passed since this example of pure visual artistry appeared, one already tends to forget what a significant role The Triplets of Belleville played in its time. With the onset of 3D films, the acute question of the survival of classic feature-length animated films arose. Immediately, Disney productions registered a rapid decrease in profit, much of it flowing to the independent Pixar studios. While children big and small rejoiced over unexpected possibilities, old-school fogies were skeptical. No pay, no shoot...
Odpověď francouzského animátora Sylvaina Chometa přišla s razancí nezvyklé síly. Výsostně artistní dílo, sebeironicky evokující zlatou dobu jazzu, ujíždí ve swingovém tempu a se senilní hravostí ke svému konci. Postavy snímku se vyjadřují beze slov, protože těch ani k postižení tak jednoduchých dějů a pohnutek není potřeba. Verbální průjmy a třeskutá akce totiž náleží už těm mladším, v počítači vytvarovaným fešákům s krajkováním z jedniček a nul.
JThe reply by French animator Sylvain Chomet came with unusual force. Sovereign and artistic, evoking the golden jazz age with self-mockery, the film proceeds towards its end in swing rhythm and with senile playfulness. The film protagonists do not speak in words, as there is no need for words to express such simplicity of act and cause. Verbal diarrhorea and restless action are inherent to the younger, computer-shaped smashers laced with ones and zeros.
It is the very humble realization of one's own possibilities and the consequent feeling of uniqueness which makes The Triplets of Belleville an exceptional work. An act of self-reflection weaved right into the matter of narration. As if the trio of weird sisters from the megacity of Belleville did not predict an unhappy ending this time, but encourages a quiet, peaceful release from imposed stereotypes.
The visual aspect of the film, dominated by diverse varieties of ochre, associates an air of drowsiness, sluggishness and apparent decline, also suggested by the development of the plot and the action of the characters. These are contrasted by both the personality and character of the Champion whose perception is geared, by his narrow-profiled ambition, to win the famous Tour de France cycling race. To reach the limit observed since the dawn of childhood and put his hands up in a victorious gesture of absolute happiness. Paradoxically, it is his very unique sports performance which becomes the cause for the cyclist's life complications and the only driving element of the plot.
To a certain degree, one can also see The Triplets of Belleville as a parody of French life, primarily as confronted by the consumerist anti-culture indirectly connected with America. In a humorous way, the French are depicted as slightly nationalist baguette-eaters and stubborn national sports fans, disturbed in their superior peace by the odd practices of pragmatic, calculating foreigners. Simply, France as you may or may not know it; and animated film as you may or, more probably so, may not know it.
French director, visual artist and cartoonist living in Canada. Renowned in the world for his short animated film La vieille dame et les pigeons (The Old Lady and the Pigeons), awarded a number of international awards and nominated for the Oscar and Caesar awards.