- Actors: Michèle Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, Monica Viegas, Béatrice Bonifassi
- Directors: Sylvain Chomet
- Writers: Sylvain Chomet
- Producers: Colin Rose, Didier Brunner, Paul Cadieux, Regis Ghezelbash, Viviane Vanfleteren
- Format: PAL
- Language: French, Portuguese
- Subtitles: English
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 12
- Studio: Tartan
- DVD Release Date: 26 Jan. 2004
- Run Time: 77 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00011FXHS
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,408 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Belleville Rendez-Vous  [DVD]
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Noticing that her grandson, Champion, is a lonely little boy, Madame Souza buys him his first bicycle. Years go by, and with Madame Souza putting him through his paces, Champion becomes worthy of his name. Now he is ready to enter the worlds most famous cycling competition, the Tour de France. But no sooner than the race begun, two mysterious men in black kidnap him and it is up to Madame Souza and her faithful dog, Bruno, to rescue him.
Soon, their quest takes them to a giant metropolis called Belleville, where they encounter three eccentric female music hall stars of the 1930s and do battle with the evil French mafia. But can they rescue Champion? A visual treat for young and old alike, this stunning film has captured the imagination of audience the world over with its unique blend of classic animation and razor-sharp wit.
One of the more surprising critical hits of 2003, Sylvain Chomet's Belleville Rendezvous is a French animation that combines occasional beauty and charm with sardonic grotesquerie. People have commented about its bitchy portrait of a USA where everyone is overweight and over-helpful; it is equally nasty about a provincial France, where everything is grey and nothing is convenient. A grandmother and her dog set out to rescue a cyclist who has been kidnapped by the French Mafia and is forced to race endlessly into a receding projected landscape; she is helped by a superannuated trio of female close-harmony chansonniers marooned in American poverty.
Nothing in this film is mere chance--almost everything we see turns out to be relevant. There is also little dialogue--most of the time, sound effects and music take its place, from the irritating squeak of a mechanic's breathing to the sublimity of Mozart's "Kyrie" as a storm rages at sea. Belleville Rendezvous uses the best of traditional animation techniques and modern technology to produce something sharply funny and beautifully composed; it is not quite like anything you have seen before. --Roz KaveneySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There's humor to be found in every frame, the characters are caricatures of caricatures, and the imagery is breathtaking. This is one of those movies that you can watch over and over again, and find something new each time. The music and sound effects also contribute to an overall excellent movie.
It's sad, it's funny, it's moving. The Triplets of Belleville brings a new maturity to cartoons.
Set in France in the early 20th century, it tells the story of Champion, a young chubby-cheeked boy who is sent to live with his grandmother after the death of his parents. After trying a variety of techniques to cajoule a smile out of her grandson, she eventually decides that a bicycle may be the answer... her intuition pays off and, after many late-night, rainy bike rides among the steep inclines of the town's hills, Champion begins to live up to his name.
This is where the film really begins to get going. Shady mafiosa-types carry out a daring kidnap of Champion and two of his opponents mid-race. Their tired bodies are then led to a dark underground lair and the trio's cycling talents are used for gambling purposes.
Meanwhile, Champion's Grandmother embarks on an epic trail across deadly seas and through an even more dangerous New York City in an attempt to track her boy down. She has help along the way from three once-famous singing sisters who are now a little down on their luck. Their heroic efforts eventually result in an unlikely end to the tale.
The animation in this feature was truly Oscar-worthy. While some of the recent Disney/Dreamworks pictures have been very special, The Belleville Rendez-vous is in a different league. The animation is wonderfully dark and all of the characters are deliberately exaggerated caricatures - particularly the marvellous dog; the scenes involving his interest in trains are hilarious.
Overall, the film feels as if it was from a different age... one where the emphasis was on imagination and originality rather than cheap laughs and colourful fish. A must-see film for anybody looking for something with a little difference and panache.
Like Ardman, it chooses to make a charicature of it's host nation, but then goes some. France is both quaint and tiresome through the eyes of the director, but more viciously, America is a grotesque nightmare.
Whilst the politicking will keep the intellectuals amused, the real fun is the adventure. And what an adventure it is. Dog lovers will love Bruno, and just plain humans will love everything else.
If there is a genre, and a tradition, this film adheres to it with a final chase scene that is brilliantly absurd. Disney doesn't make this stuff. Because it can't. It's not allowed. And for that we really all should be thankful. See it, whether you are nine or ninety - it's a masterpiece.
The comparison might seem a bit unlikely, but to me this is similar to the original Ren & Stimpy cartoons, the ones drawn by John Kricfalusi (whose name I have probably spelled wrong) because the backgrounds are all beautifully painted, and rich with detail, while the characters are not just caricatures but in many cases true grotesques - like the waiter in the hotel who fawns so far backwards and forwards that his head is always upside-down, or the mafia henchmen whose bodies are completely oblong. If you doubt the Ren & Stimpy comparison, just look at the frog-eating scene in Belleville and see if that is not as gross as anything Ren & Stimpy did!
I am still amazed that one film can be beautiful and ugly, slapstick and subtle, amusing and melancholy, and at the end of it you are still humming that Belleville song.
Talking of which, there are not many extras on the DVD, but one is the music video of the theme song, featuring some French singer I have not heard of. He has himself inserted into bits of the film and it all works rather well, not to mention that it it gives you another chance to enjoy the tune.
I am not normally into cartoons, but have to give this one full marks.
This story is told without any of the characters speaking; essentially it is a 'silent' film, with the audience shown the story. The animation is absolutely fantastic though, as it focuses on the more grotesque things in life. The characters are lovingly rendered, all becoming caricatures of real life, from the gangsters (who all look like tombstones!) to Champion's grandmother and the triplets of Belleville. Champion's dog is especially touching with his love of trains and the melancholy gait as he traipses around the house. It is full of sound and music too: one particular scene has the triplets singing in a 1940s style close harmony group, using only 'found' items such as their fridge shelves and pots to create a musical backing.
The film is wonderfully dark and brooding, with the cities and the characters all larger than life. The animation is some of the best I have seen, and the use of music throughout is well judged. It feels like the film is from a different era, echoing the triplet's 1940's style music. It is well worth adding to your collection if you particularly like animated films or French cinema.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful—bears watching again and again over the years because of depth of visual and aural references! Have seen this twice in the cinema and viewed several times at home. Read morePublished 2 months ago by seanor
Superb. Will go down as a classic of animation.
In a world where CGI rules, this hand-drawn masterpiece is gem of its time.