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January 24, 2004

"The Triplets of Belleville"

Dear Friedrich --

Although I'd been looking forward to the animated movie The Triplets of Belleville (here), I didn't write about it after seeing it because ... Well, I liked it, didn't love it. I loved the movie's Euro-graphic-novel visual style, and its funky-shocking interludes. And I loved its avant-garde-circa-the-'20s storytelling; in the way it handles narrative, it's like that early silent Rene Clair movie "Entr'acte." "Triplets" is a charmingly, and genuinely, experimental movie. But my interest flagged here and there; I even dozed off a few times, although I didn't find that unpleasant.

The film was so well-done that I haven't been able to figure out why I wasn't more enthusiastic about it. I wonder if it's simply because I've always had trouble with long-form animation. Animation ... the ultimate artform ... where everything can be manipulated ... what could be more creative ... blah blah: I know how those arguments go. In practice, though, my sense of delight starts to flag after about 10 minutes; at any extended length, I seem to find it much more interesting to watch real people.

(This is one reason I'm not psyched about the directions computer technology is taking movies, by the way. Computers turn movies into pixels, thereby allowing creative people to get inside and tug things around; they essentially turn real-life movies into a subcategory of computer animation. And, as I say, I simply find it easier to sustain an interest in real-life movies than in animated movies.)

But that's just me, and people better than I -- Terry Teachout (here), Nate Davis (here) and Cinetrix (here) -- have loved "Triplets." If you haven't seen it yet, don't miss renting it on DVD. I'll be eager to hear how you react.



posted by Michael at January 24, 2004


I had an identical reaction.

Posted by: Dick Ranko on January 26, 2004 10:39 AM

As an animator myself, I felt very ďblahĒ towards this film as well. Great look, great animation. beautiful artwork and stylization through out but, I donít think I would spend another six 50 to watch it or even study it again. I was hyped and have heard things praising it as bold! Bold? my head plunged and swooped to alertness after heavy bouts of boredom through the whole ordeal. cute. funny in a "well I guess they're laughing so what the hell I think Iíll throw in a chuckle also" kind of way. story left me unsatisfied. A good film but not a great film.

Posted by: Abel Salazar on February 1, 2004 8:38 AM

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