The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
Directed and written by Sylvain Chomet
Produced by Didier Brunner, Viviane Vanfleteren, Paul Cadieux, Regis Ghezelbash, Colin Rose
Corsican mobsters abduct three cyclists competing in the Tour de France to exploit their stamina in a backstair gambling scheme; in pursuit athwart the Atlantic, one contender's dogged Portuguese grandmother and her constant, corpulent canine enlist the aid of the titular Triplets, erstwhile music hall chorines turned bricoleur musicians, to rescue her thewy grandson and his rivals. Lavish with period detail, Chomet's fictive reminiscence of inter- and postwar France graphically celebrates two eras' Gallic zeitgeist with an incisively parodic peculiarity lampooning French and American cultures while belying the gravity of its protagonists' poverty and peril. Howbeit, nary a single satiric nor nostalgic facet of this cunning animation occupies the viewer as may its grotesque character design: slumped, steatopygous and orthogonal figures, grossly magnified lineaments and bizarre physical disproportions denote ethnicities, vocations and conditions with a lucidity equaling exposition, and congruous with its virtual absence of dialogue. As both a charming yet unsentimental story of suspense and homage to the unique ambiances of the Third Republic and late years of Pompidou, it's matched by few features and mayhap no other cartoon.