Movie Dictator Club: Les Triplettes De Belleville (The Triplets Of Belleville, 2003)


My entry in the Animated section of the Movie Dictator Club for the month of May, 2009!

Written By: Sylvain Chomet
Directed By: Sylvain Chomet

Unique may not be the best word to describe Les Triplettes De Belleville, maybe interesting or jumbled would be better, but unique is most in my minds eye. The presentation is certainly unique, there’s no two ways around that. Not only is it unique from a sound perspective, outside of a few unintelligible lines and songs the film is silent, it’s also unique from a visual perspective. I’ve heard others describe the visuals of Les Triplettes De Belleville as scary, and while I’m not completely on board with that I can see where those people are coming from. I didn’t find the visual world scary, but I did find it to be more in line with a horror style world envisioned. I don’t know if my point made much sense, but what I’m getting at is that the world wasn’t scary, but it did manage to be more along the line of a human horror world.

Either way, the uniqueness of the visual world in Les Triplettes De Belleville is important because it keeps the audience interested in what they are seeing. I say this because there are moments when the film does stall a bit in its lack of a real narrative, or in its lack of developed characters. However, even in those moments the odd, almost horrific, nature of the visual world keeps the viewer interested in where the story is going. Another factor in the freshness of Les Triplettes De Belleville is its humor, or brand of humor to put it more succinctly. It’s reminiscent of Jacques Tati in that the humor is based on observational moments. Take the funniest running gag in the movie, Bruno’s hatred of trains. Early on we see his tail get run over by a toy train, and this instills in him a life long hatred of trains. He has nightmares about them, he times their trek past his house just so that he can bark at the train on schedule. This is funny, but it isn’t uproarious humor, it’s sly, observational humor, and that humor works in Les Triplettes De Belleville.

As I mentioned earlier in passing, Les Triplettes De Belleville does falter when it comes to its lack of a real narrative structure as well as its lack of developed characters. I don’t want to say that they were major detriments to the film, but, well, they were. The lack of depth in both fields created a scenario where I didn’t feel like a whole story was being told. It felt more like interesting visuals with a story and characters as a mere backdrop, and while that sometimes appeals to me, it didn’t in Les Triplettes De Belleville.

Les Triplettes De Belleville is certainly interesting and unique, as I have repeatedly said, probably to the point of annoyance. I do recommend it for others, but I don’t think it is a repeat viewing type of film. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to discover in the visual realm, but I need a bit more than that to bring me back to a film for repeated viewings. I’m happy I finally got around to watching Les Triplettes De Belleville, once again thanks go out to that lovely lass Worm@Work, and it is a good movie, but I was left with a somewhat hollow feeling upon finishing it.





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