The Triplets of Belleville


The Triplets of Belleville is a delightful excursion – satirical, subversive, but all in good fun.

This is the first of several French films I have seen recently, and I enjoyed it very much, although I wouldn’t say I loved it as much as some other animated fare of recent years. But Triplets doesn’t quite fit alongside Shrek, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. – it is entirely directed at adults, whereas the Hollywood ones have always been for kids, with some side jokes for adults.

This film displays a humour that I had found missing in my interactions with the French previously, although I admit I was not in a great mood when I was in Paris – gee that place is over-rated! There is a joy and a wit in Triplets, that can lighten the heart. But this is not all fun. There are moments of outright subversiveness, and at almost all times this film is satirising some aspect of modern life.

Whilst I do not agree with the discussions going on over at IMDb about whether this film is ‘anti-American’ or not – surely anyone with half a brain could see it was much more anti-progress! – there are implications that suggest the author is not convinced of the benefits of the globalisation of world culture.

The music is fun, particularly the eponymous track sung by the three ‘Triplets’. The animation is pseudo old school – washed out, drab, angular. It fits, although I did at times have to mentally adjust my expectations after the last decades’ massive advances in cartooning.

The central relationship between grandmother and grandson, although bizarre, provides heart to an otherwise comedic story. Her devotion to his progress allows us moments of great mirth.

This is a fun film, and should be refreshing to those of us who usually feast at the table of the Hollywood moguls. It is not perfect, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Rating: 3 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 1st January 1970
Hoopla Factor: 3 stars


To tell you the truth I didn’t pay much attention to the so called ‘subversive’ nature of this film. I mean, there are lots of American films where the bad guys are played by foreigners, so having the US secret service as the villains in a non American film isn’t really that surprising. I get the feeling that any comments about America right now are bound to provoke an outcry, no matter how innocent they may be. It’s probably got to do with that world domination thang they got going on (oh-oh! Here we go… I just provoked an outcry.)

So if you ignore whether or not the subtext is there, Triplets is quite an innocent and well-meaning film. I was at first a bit… um… maybe shocked is the word… at the animation. There is a definite stylistic choice that’s been made and at first I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. I guess I’m so used to the Disney and/or Anime style of animation that I was rather uncomfortable at this particularly bold imagery. This being a French production, there are of course moments of truly awe-inspiring animation (think big waves) in amongst the otherwise restrained style.

It’s always impressive to see a film that can tell a story without words. Triplets is a tale told in pictures, something which no doubt left a lot of translators out of work.

This isn’t a film I ever really enjoyed as much as the rest of the audience. I thought a lot of the humour was smirk-worthy, but rarely found myself laughing out loud. The Triplets Of Belleville is an entertaining film with a unique visual style, although it did little more than pass the time.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 1st January 1970
Hoopla Factor: 2 stars

Shaun of the Dead