The Triplets of Belleville

The Triplets of Belleville (French: Les Triplettes de Belleville) is a 2003 animated comedy film written and directed by Sylvain Chomet. It was released as Belleville Rendez-vous in the United Kingdom. The film is Chomet's first feature film and was an international co-production among companies in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Canada.

The Triplets of Belleville
The film post features several characters riding bikes with information about the film surrounding them
French release poster
Directed bySylvain Chomet
Produced byDidier Brunner
Paul Cadieux
Regis Ghezelbash
Colin Rose
Viviane Vanfleteren
Written bySylvain Chomet
StarringBéatrice Bonifassi
Lina Boudreault
Michel Robin
Music byBenoît Charest
Edited byDominique Brune
Chantal Colibert Brunner
Dominique Lefever
Les Armateurs
Production Champion
Vivi Film
France 3 Cinéma
RGP Productions
Canal+, Sofica Gimages 3, Cofimage 12, Telefilm Canada, SODEC, Charente, Région Poitou-Charentes
CNC, Fonds Film in Vlaanderen, Nationale Loterij of Belgium
BBC Bristol, BBC Worldwide
Distributed byDiaphana Films (France)
Tartan Films (UK)
Release date
  • 11 June 2003 (2003-06-11) (France)
Running time
78 minutes
United Kingdom
Budget$9.5 million[1]
Box office$14.8 million[2]

The film features the voices of Michèle Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin, and Monica Viegas. There is little dialogue; much of the narrative is conveyed through song and pantomime. It tells the story of Madame Souza, an elderly woman who goes on a quest to rescue her grandson Champion, a Tour de France cyclist, who has been kidnapped by the French mafia for gambling purposes and taken to the city of Belleville (an amalgam of New York City, Montreal and Quebec City[3]). She is accompanied by Champion's loyal and obese hound, Bruno, and joined by the Triplets of Belleville, music hall singers from the 1930s, whom she meets in the city.

The film was highly praised by audiences and critics for its unique style of animation. The film was nominated for two Academy AwardsBest Animated Feature and Best Original Song for "Belleville Rendez-vous". It was also screened out of competition (hors concours) at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.[4]


The film begins with a flashback showing The Triplets of Belleville: a trio of singers performing on stage in the 1920s (dancing alongside other celebrities including Josephine Baker and Django Reinhardt).

The story focuses on Madame Souza, an elderly woman raising her young charge, her grandson, Champion. Souza notices his listlessness that is attributed to hints of his being orphaned. When she notices his (brief) interest in music, she tries to get him to play the piano. When this fails to inspire, she buys him Bruno, a dog. After a time he becomes melancholic once more. She discovers Champion's keen interest in road bicycle racing (a photo on his wall shows his deceased parents with a cycle), she buys him a tricycle. We see them years later, as Champion the cyclist and Souza, his coach.

Champion competes the Tour de France but during the race, he and two other riders are kidnapped by two French mafia henchmen and brought to the bustling metropolis of Belleville.

Souza and Bruno follow the men, but lose their trail. Lost and with no way to find Champion, Souza has a chance encounter with the renowned Belleville triplets, music hall singers from the 1930s, now elderly women turned improvisational musicians. The sisters take Souza to their home and she soon becomes a part of their group. We then see the wine mafia boss using the kidnapped cyclists as horses in a stationary cycling machine. They are raced in a simulated Tour de France race for gambling.

At a fancy restaurant, the Triplets and Souza perform a jam session using newspaper, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and bicycle wheel as instruments. The wine mafia boss happens to be in the restaurant and, with the help of Bruno, Souza realizes he has Champion. She tails one of the minions and discovers the scheme. That night, mob bosses and henchmen arrive at the hideout to bet on the riders (one of whom falls off his bicycle from exhaustion, at which point the bookmaker shoots him as one would an injured horse). Madame Souza, Bruno and the Triplets then infiltrate the hideout, sabotage the contraption, free it and turn it into a pedal-powered vehicle on which they all escape. The mob henchmen pursue them, but are all overcome. The film ends with the motley group riding out of Belleville, and a flashforward to an older Champion reflecting on the adventure, as told to him by the then-deceased Souza.


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 94% of 141 surveyed critics gave it a positive review, and the average rating was 8.2/10; the consensus reads: "Richly detailed and loaded with surreal touches, The Triplets of Belleville is an odd, delightful charmer."[5] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized score, rated it 91/100 based on 35 reviews.[6]


The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: for Best Animated Feature, making it the first PG-13 animated film to be nominated in that category; and for Best Original Song (Benoît Charest and Sylvain Chomet for the song "Belleville Rendez-vous", sung by Matthieu Chedid in the original version). The film lost the Best Animated Feature award to Finding Nemo. It also won the César for Best Film Music,[7] and as a co-production with Canada it won the Genie Award for Best Motion Picture[8] and the BBC Four World Cinema Award in 2004.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Grey, Tobias (19 January 2003). "New Gaul draw: France toons up". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  2. ^ "The Triplets of Belleville". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  3. ^ Curiel, Jonathan (29 December 2003). "For caricaturist Chomet, creator of 'Triplets of Belleville,' it's a long way from Disney". SFGate. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Triplets of Belleville". Retrieved 9 November 2009.
  5. ^ "The Triplets of Belleville (2003)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. ^ "The Triplets of Belleville". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  7. ^ James, Alison (17 February 2004). "Lumiere Awards puts spotlight on 'Triplets'". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  8. ^ Tillson, Tamsen (31 March 2005). "Genies toon in 'Triplets'". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  9. ^ "BBC Four delivers crown to 'Triplets'". Variety. 25 January 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2014.

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