Insane ‘Triplets’ a multitude of fun (FILM REVIEW: B+)

Kyle Smith

It’s a curious effect of Disney hegemony that, apart from the popularity of Asian animation, animated foreign films rarely find their way to the United States. The elastic nature of animation, especially the modern computer-generated variety, would make them easier to dub, elevating animated films as the most accessible cross-cultural movies since the silent era.

The French-Canadian production “The Triplets of Belleville” finally fulfills this promise. It is a little gem that carves its own bizarre niche while evoking a century of worldwide animation through its storytelling and creative technique.

The movie opens with a stunning sepia-flavored presentation of the Triplets of Belleville, a trio of French flappers from the ’30s who croon their hits to a rambunctious music hall. This scene plays out like the earliest of Disney’s “Silly Symphonies,” with delightful gags that survive more on their energy than their hilarity.

This is also one of the only sequences in the film with dialogue. “Belleville” features unique sound design constructed among the squeaks and squeals of life, but there is so little dialogue nobody bothered to add subtitles. Writer/director Sylvain Chomet, originally trained as a comic book artist, is such an assured storyteller that it doesn’t make a difference.

Modeled after the films of Jacques Tati (and tipping a top hat to him through included footage of “Jour de f