french films > Belleville Rendez-Vous

Belleville Rendez-Vous

Belleville Rendez-Vous

cast: Voices: Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, Monica Viegas

year: 2003

colour: no

certificate: 12A

director: Sylvain Chomet

runtime: 78

An Original Animation. In a 2003 Cannes Film Festival marked by disappointment, this virtual dialogue-free French animation was one of the few films to attract attention and be met with real audience delight. Champion, a lonely orphan who lives with his grandma, Mme Souza, has only two pleasures in life: a puppy called Bruno and his tricycle. Noting his interest in the latter, Mme Souza subjects the growing lad to a rigorous training schedule as a racing cyclist, which eventually gets him into the Tour de France. En route during the race, however, Champion and two other cyclists are abducted by the French mafia and shipped off to New York, with Mme Souza and Bruno in dogged pursuit. Help with the rescue mission is provided by the Andrews-Sisters like Belleville Triplets, a 30s swinging, singing combo still gleefully performing magical routines on an eccentric range of instruments, though they are now in their eighties and so impoverished they subsist upon frogs. Their two musical numbers are amongst the most imaginative set-pieces in a film full of treats: the delicate, pen-and-ink look of the animation enchants in a way that the lifeless computer generations of Disney cannot match, and the humour is as universally appealing as that of Tati. (Curzon Cinemas) Year of release in UK: 2003

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