Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Triplets of Belleville

Another bicycle classic that you could watch on a cold winter’s day is the 2003 animated comity The Triplets of Belleville.  Written and directed by Sylvain Chomet, this film was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, but could have won in the categories of Best Grandmother Ever, Ugliest Portrayal of French Women on Film or Best Rider's Legs… I am pretty sure those are all active categories.

The movie starts out in 1920/30’s France with the concert of title Triplets of Belleville, who share the stage with a correctly three fingered Django Reinhardt, a hard dancing Fred Astaire, and a risqué Josephine Baker (oh, this movie is PG-13 by the way), but quickly moves onto the central characters who are a grandson and his grandmother. This grandmother does her darndest to find something to interest her lonely grandson. After many tries, the saving grace ends up being cycling (well tricycling, but he is a kid)

  The movie progresses to the 1960’s (per a de Gaulle like French President) where this grandson eventually becomes a Tour de France cyclist, under the coaching and doting of his grandmother. Without giving too much away, let’s just say craziness ensues. This includes bikes, possible cycling addiction, the mob, a fat dog, and the love only a grandmother can have for her grandson.

Now though this is a comedy, don’t look for a lot of big jokes. This movie thrives on subtle cultural and historic references, running gags like comparing the cyclists to horses, and little things you catch in the background (for example a butcher shop that has a pig riding a bike made of pork, or the Triplets watching Jour de Fete).  I think cyclists at any level will love the jokes about hill climbing, history buffs the cultural references, and music lovers the sound track.

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