The Triplets of Belleville

Released last year to limited distribution, this feature-length animated film is finally coming around to more theaters, thanks to some award nominations. Although it's considered a French film, with production in Belgium, Canada, and the Czech Republic, it screams of Montreal. Who else would openly admit to heavily soaking in the music/pop/art cultures of both the French and the Americans (re-performing the mmusic on various musical non-instruments) while blatently poking fun at each (without being completely degrading)? It's a semi-musical semi-surrealistic culture clash, with a linguistic mix of French and English, void of subtitles. (They're not necessary anyhow.) An old woman and her grandson live together in France, enjoy old Vaudville-like (from the fictitious Bellville) musical productions on the TV, have a cute dog, and the grandson is a bicyclist. But, during the Tour de France, something awful happens and it's up to the grandmother, dog, and the aging Triplets of Bellville to do something about it. The adventure is fun, the tunes are catchy (while almost completely nonsensical), and the animation is something to be enjoyed on the large screen. It's also a bit of a tribute to older cartoons in a few ways: most notably that old Looney Tunes cartoons weren't always just for kids and Disney films of yesteryear had both tragedy and a moral. The quirky animation and bouncy tunes are something most definitely to be experienced on the large screen as to be fully appreciated. (Don't leave during the credits since there's something afterwards too!) Due to its short length, animated shorts are appearing with it across the USA. For those as lucky as I was, the theater showed Destino, a short begun by Salvador Dali and completed recently, as Disney was originally planning to use some of the surrealistic adventures in a series of Fantasias, which were never completed. A number of famous Dali paintings come to life with a retro soundtrack which is absolutely out of this world. Once again, the big screen experience is truly breathtaking.