‘Belleville’ is boring
“The Triplets of Belleville” is a 77-minute animation that has no dialogue.
If that doesn’t scream “art house” film, I don’t know what does.
The French film begins with very, very large women popping out of cars, accompanied by very, very short and thin men (one of whom is stuck in a woman’s butt crack).
“Beavis and Butthead” you ask? No, but the sound effects – ranging from dying frogs to jazzy, street-rhythm improv – gets just as weird. And the movie’s full of skinny men with visible Adam’s apples.
But it’s more like “South Park” without the in-your-face dialogue.
Apparently the overweight people depict gluttonous North Americans, while the skinny French men portray avid cyclists. One review I read said the overall story is an allegory of how Hollywood steals away the best and brightest talents of Europe and sucks them dry.
I didn’t go that deep with it, which is perhaps why it only ranked two stars in my book.
I found it to be slow-paced and jumbled.
The story revolves around a cyclist named Champion. During the Tour de France, thugs kidnap Champion and a few other racers and drag them to Belleville. There, they must pedal relentlessly while gamblers bet who will fall over first.
Meanwhile, Champion’s dog, Bruno, follows his scent across the sea to New York, accompanied by Champion’s grandmother. The pair ends up homeless and penniless, until the triplets of Belleville – jazz-singing, frog-eating eccentric old women – give them shelter.
From there, they devise a plan to rescue Champion.
It took 21 minutes for the plot to develop into something tangible. It took 28 minutes to see why the dog played such a predominant role. About halfway through, the kidnapping occurs. Before that, it’s basically bulging calf muscles, strange women singing and cyclists running phonographs for no apparent reason.
The soundtrack lends interest, and the animation is bizarre, if not interesting. But the satire didn’t strike me as entertaining.
A handful of funny moments break the otherwise dull experience. The triplets almost have enough personality to carry the entire movie. But, notice, I say “almost.”
Some people probably will like this film. After all, it won awards in critic circles nationwide, as well as a jury special prize at the Copenhagen International Film Festival, a Cesar award in France and a Golden Satellite Award.
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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