Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Hidden Gem: Brilliant films you've probably never heard of... The Belleville Rendez-Vous

The world is a cynical place. For example, were I to suggest the idea of spending 80 minutes watching a silent, French animation, you would probably find any excuse to avoid such a perceived punishment.
I'm certain a majority of retorts would include 'what, a cartoon for kids?', or 'oh no, I don't do subtitles'. If, you too, find yourself muttering the same narrow minded thoughts, then be prepared to miss out on something truly special.

Les triplettes de Belleville, or The Belleville Rendez-Vous as was per UK release title, is one of those obscure films that, whilst some may find odd, others will find utterly enchanting.
The story follows Champion who, trained by his little old grandmother Madame Souza (complete with clubbed foot), is obsessed with cycling and is preparing for the Tour de France. During the race Champion goes missing, suspicious he has been kidnapped, Madame Souza, along with their overweight and lazy dog Bruno, set off on a journey to rescue him.

To address said qualities of its silent nature, it does have small amounts of dialogue (albeit it in French) at various points, but the story is told in such a brilliant way that it has little need for dialogue at all.

The films strongest point has to be its stylistic approach, with the animation as its most appealing factor. Forget anything in the realm of Disney because these uniquely designed characters are like nothing you've ever seen and have such a sense of originality, makes it impossible not to fall in love with.
In fact, the characters are so aesthetically intriguing, the simple yet effective story plays a back seat, as you find yourself visually enthralled by director Sylvain Chomet's artistry.

The story has a sophisticated level of intelligence and humour, rendering it more adult than child orientated, which I always find refreshing in the genre. A simple and charming story coupled by wonderfully created, vibrant characters, give Les triplettes de Belleville acclaim for being not only a memorable, but brilliant film.
Admittedly, it's not going to appeal to everyone, and yes, it has a somewhat freaky look, but if you're searching for something different, then this could be for you.

Photos: Les triplettes de Belleville (2003), imdb images