When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters--an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire--to rescue him.
Madame Souza, an elderly woman, instills in her grandson Champion (for who she acts as his guardian) a love of cycling. As a young man, he does become a dedicated road racer with his grandmother as his trainer. During a mountainous leg of the Tour de France in which Champion is racing, he goes missing. Evidence points to him being kidnapped. Indeed, he and two of his competitors were kidnapped, the kidnappers who want to use the threesome's unique skills for nefarious purposes. With Champion's overweight and faithful pet dog Bruno at her side, Madame Souza goes looking for Champion. Their trek takes them overseas to the town of Belleville. Without any money, Madame Souza and Bruno are befriended and taken in by three eccentric elderly women, who were once the renowned jazz singing group The Triplets of Belleville. The triplets help Madame Souza and Bruno try to locate and rescue Champion.Written by
Among the anti-Disney riffs in the film are a Mickey-shaped turd in a toilet, and a wallet-picture of a character in Disneyland with a lollipop that says SUCKER. See more »
Near the End, where the Triplets and Souza are going across the bay over the bridge, you see a ship passing under it into the harbour. However, when the Mafia goes over the edge into the funnel of the ship, It is leaving the harbour, not entering it. See more »
Is that it, then? Is it over, do you think? What have you got to say to Grandma?
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After the credits have rolled we see the Pedalo rent guy waiting on the beach, looking out to sea and checking his wrist watch. See more »
This animated feature by Sylvain Chomet was seriously weird. The visuals were like no other movie I've seen and even now, weeks after I've seen it they still haunt my imagination. In structure the story is quite conventional Madame Souza trains up her geeky grandson to be a top-line cyclist (a very French ambition) but while he is competing in the Tour de France he is abducted by criminals who remove him to `Belleville' on the other side of the Atlantic. M. Souza goes to find him and after many adventures well, you know the rest. There's plenty of chasing about on Belleville's streets and freeways in very French looking vehicles that look like stretch limo versions of the immortal Citroen 2CV. Belleville itself is a curious amalgam of New York, Montreal and Paris, and seems to owe something to Fritz Lang's `Metropolis'.
The eponymous triplets are three former 30s singing stars now reduced to playing in cheap cafes, busking and eating frog's legs, of which Belleville seems to have an ample supply. They take M de Souza in and help her in her quest without any great benefit to themselves.
I did think it might help to appreciate this movie if you were French. There is virtually no dialogue (though plenty of singing) but there seem to be numerous references presumably satirical to various French national obsessions and preoccupations. What is the joke is not always clear to an outsider. Is there any significance in M Souza's originally being Portuguese? (She actually bears a close resemblance to the English cartoonist Giles's Grandma). Are top cyclist just nervy greyhounds with huge leg muscles? Do the French see themselves as svelte and Americans as all grossly obese? Are the French self-conscious about being typecast as frog-eaters? Are Citroen really planning a stretch limo version of the 2CV? I don't know, but then I don't need to.
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