The Triplets of Belleville

So it’s not Japanese. It’s still good.
The Triplets of Belleville not only came to Wichita but stayed long enough for me to actually see it, even though the theatre couldn’t be bothered to advertise it. It’s good; it’s bizarre; and, although it’s animated, it’s not for children, or frogs. The art is mostly pen and ink rather than computer-rendered, and the figures are exaggerated and stylized to the point of grotesquerie. It’s a long way from both Pixar and Miyazaki. Although it’s in French, there are no subtitles. They aren’t necessary: there is very little dialogue, and the story of the kidnapping of a Tour de France bicyclist and his rescue by his indomitable grandmother is easy to follow without words (it does help if you can read a little French). More than in most movies, the soundtrack matters — the eponymous triplets are the outstanding exponents of the music of refrigerator racks and vacuum cleaners, after all. I particularly recommend this idiosyncratic movie for those who’ve heard of Josephine Baker and Django Reinhardt and to anyone who has ever trued a bicycle wheel.