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THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE

movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)

NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by JediWiseGuy who says... "This was a delightful French animated feature film with two or three lines of dialogue. I am sure that many of you would beg to differ, but it is better than Finding Nemo. It is doubtful that Triplets will take home any Academy Awards, but it is nice that it is being nominated in both the Animated Feature and Original Song categories. This one needs to be seen to be appreciated."

The film begins with the Triplets of Belleville assembling on a stage to sing a 30s-esque song. It is quite quirky, and Fred Astaire comes onstage to dance, but his shoes grow and eat him. It turns out that this is just on a television set, and a young, plump boy named Champion is captivated by it. He lives with his strange grandmother Madame Souza who wants the boy to be happy. Champion is very lonely and cannot really get interested in things.

Souza first gets Champion a puppy, which he names Bruno and is very grateful for.

Soon, he becomes bored with this dog and loses interest. Souza also gets him a train set but it cannot hold her grandson’s interest. Finally, she realizes that the only thing that makes him happy is the Tour de France. Knowing this, she gets him a tricycle and Champion is ecstatic.

Some time has passed and Bruno has become much bigger and fatter. The dog passes the time by barking at the passing trains. Meanwhile, Madame Souza is busy preparing Champion, who is now lean and fit, for the Tour de France. She whistles on a bike behind her grandson, who pedals with exhaustion. Souza brings her grandson back home and gives him a strange massage with household items, including a vacuum cleaner and what looks like an egg beater. It is a very funny scene.

Champion and Souza are now at a contest that precedes the Tour de France. Souza cheers her grandson on with her whistle and Bruno. Many of the bikers become exhausted and collapse because of the heat and the pedaling on the mountain. Suddenly, a group of mafia goons kidnaps some of the bikers. Champion continues to strive but soon enough, he collapses and is kidnapped by these mysterious men in black. Souza discovers her grandson’s bike on the ground and sets out to find him.

Champion is taken on a large ship into the ocean, and Souza and Bruno rent a small boat and follow it for what seems to be days. They brave storms, high tides, and other tribulations. Eventually, they arrive to a New Yorkian city called Belleville and the mafia is out of their reach.

Saddened, Souza camps out in what looks like an alley and being a lover of music, begins creating rhythms with street items. Suddenly, the Triplets of Belleville, now aged and ugly, join in with Souza and they take her in to live with them for the time being.

The Triplets’ apartment is cluttered and quite messy. One of the sisters goes out to a pond and throws a bomb into the water. Dead frogs fly from beneath the pond, and the sister gathers up many of them in a net. It turns out that the Triplets eat these frogs, and Souza doesn’t really enjoy this. Instead, she pounds on the piano trying to make music but it comes out as strange clamor. She moves around some of the household items, but is soon stopped by the Triplets for touching and moving the vacuum cleaner, newspaper, and fridge.

Meanwhile, the mafia goons begin using the three kidnapped bicyclers for gambling. They have placed a moving picture screen in front of the bikers who pedal, so it looks like they are really biking. The Triplets discover where the mafia is, so Souza, Bruno, and the three sisters fit into one of the goon’s suits. They sneak into what looks like a theater, where many of the mafia members are gathered and betting around in seats watching Champion and two other bicyclers pedal. One of these bikers becomes exhausted and falls over. He is shot.

Souza goes beneath the strange setup and begins slowly moving the bicycles towards the wall, and the Triplets distract the other mafia goons as they escape. Many of the goons jump into their cars to chase after the now moving screen/bicycle system that is slowly traveling on the Belleville streets. One of the sisters helps with the pedaling as Souza operates the system from below. They are able to outsmart many of the goons who crash and burn in their cars.

Eventually, one of the mafia cars gains on the Triplets, Souza, Champion, Bruno, and the third bicycler. Souza jumps out and puts her gigantic clog shoe in front of the mafia car which rolls over and explodes. Souza reunites with Champion and all is well. The Triplets use all of the household items that Souza was stopped for disturbing to make music in one of their stage shows.

The film ends with an older Champion watching the Triplets on TV and telling a missing, most likely passed on, Souza “that is all, Grandma.”

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