Fig. 1. Belleville Rendez-vous poster
Belleville Rendez-vous (2003) directed by Sylvain Chomet is a French animated comedy that tells the story of a cycling obsessed man that is kidnapped by the French mafia during the Tour de France, his Grandmother and overweight dog track him down in an attempt to save him. The film has incredibly over exaggerated characters that really make it memorable and interestingly it has hardly any dialogue which allows the brilliant sound design and animation to tell the enticing story.
The exaggerated character design is truly a winning feature of the film, from the Champion that has ridiculously massive leg muscles, which are in fact larger than his head to the fluid-like waiter that has an elasticated body which bends to bow in the presence of the mafia. Each character was filled with lots of personality and finesse that really made them come to life on screen, the design although very caricatured was gripping, it was the focal point that helped the story unfold. Even the cannon fodder characters, the mafia men in suits had interesting shapes in them that made them more interesting to look at, this is definitely a very strong feature of this animation which made it interesting to watch.
Fig. 2. Champion still.
The film was very French but not in an over the top kind of way, it was quite subtle in its execution, it could have been more in your face with extreme stereotypes being used however it managed to create a French feeling without being too over the top. The Champion has an overly exaggerated French nose but because the rest of his character is also exaggerated it balances his design out which doesn’t make it too extreme. The frogs are something that was a very obviously French aspect but apart from that I felt that Chomet did a great job at creating a subtle yet recognisably French film.
The film had little to no dialogue which was a very interesting choice, one which I believe worked really well, it left the animation to do a lot of the work which overall meant that it was done very well. It also had beautiful sound design which made the whole film enjoyable to follow, from the catchy song that the triplets did to the great score composed of household items. A lot of the transitions for the shots were also interesting, they used Bruno’s (the overweight dogs) dreams as transitions as well as having certain circular things transition into the moon. Due to the character design choices the animation also had to be exaggerated at times to make the film feel complete.
Overall I thought that it was a lovely animation, it was very enjoyable to watch and had lovely sound design. The character were the winning feature of the film for me personally and I loved the variety in all of their designs, the exaggeration made them all interesting to look at and made the film more gripping and fun.
Figure 1. Belleville Rendez-vous poster. (2003) From: Belleville Rendez-vous, Directed by: Sylvain Chomet [Film still] At: http://i.imgur.com/TGXlwTX.jpg
Figure 2. Champion still. (2003) From: Belleville Rendez-vous, Directed by: Sylvain Chomet [Film still] At: http://pics.filmaffinity.com/The_Triplets_of_Belleville-508681482-large.jpg