I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

My comment posted on Animation Nation about Triplets de Belleville. I loved the movie. All's been said. I offer my particular fascination on the storytelling and such.

Pacing. The movie would test "american" style cutting. Scenes are long by comparison and refreshing to experience. Having worked on so many reels in features I can see where our habits perpetuate a standard of pacing that is quicker and, because it is learned and replicated so well, predictable. This movie takes its time, intentionally languid and focuses on behaviour rather than gags.

Acting. There is no dialog really that had to carry the movie--voice overs at top and tail in English and in between it remained French or muttered pseudo-english. This does make a case for a movie that doesn't rely on exacting story-explaining that gives the word "exposition" a four-letter connotation. And the animation of the character's behaviours are astounding--line quality that harkens back to the Nine old Men style of "Dalmations."

Backgrounds. Amazing. Really pushed fable approach like "Brazil" or "City of Lost Children." There was shot that gets a big laugh and it was a time lapse shot of the character's home.

Story surprises. Foreshadowing is a staple in reel critique palletes. A lot would favor it over-done so as not to risk the audience (and we always choose to speak for this collective who seems to always mirror our own concerns in these discussions) "not getting it." If it raises a question before the "audience" is prepared for it then we MUST foreshadow! Triplets did the opposite of this in spades. They just showed a perplexing moment that made one wonder, "Hmmm, what was that about?" Then several scenes later deliver the "What and why" without fanfare. It surprised a quizzical audience member, me, and it was satisfying.

The story didn't have to be a grand lesson in life or dish out obvious epiphanies. Grandma learned nothing more throughout the story and remained dedicated to her grandson. Champion had no character surges after he gets his first bike. The Triplets had the task of being legend/superheroes and did that task without internal conflict. The dog just got bigger. And, now that I think about it, this is a plot movie that is enjoyable without the requirement of arcs and ham-handed themes.

There's room for this kind of story. I applaud the film makers and I feel proud for them that it was a 2D movie of singular merit. Congratulations all around. It made me want to draw.


(Image copyright Les Armateurs/Production/Vivi Film/France 3 Cinema/ RGP France/Sylvain Chomet)


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