Second animated feature film in a few days this afternoon. After the delights of Oscar-winning Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away I took myself off for a more adult piece of animation in the shape of French film Belleville Rendezvous. Incredibly funny film about a young boy living with his grandmother who is helping him train for the Our de France, until the French Mafia come in and kidnap cyclists for a bizarre gambling game. She pursues them across the ocean (on a pedallo!) to arrive in Bellville, a thinly disguised pastiche of American stereotypes – even the Statue of Liberty is overweight and clutches a burger in her hand.
The artwork is fantastic and the characters incredibly grotesque in a Scarfe-type manner (except for the opening which is done as a newsreel of the Roaring 20s and the animation is drawn in that period’s style – think early Felix the Cat – complete with a Josephine Baker style topless dancer in a costume of bananas. The men in the audience all turn into apes at the sight of her, rush onto the stage and grab at said bananas as she shrieks and runs off). Utterly fabulous little movie and highly recommended to all. After Bellville and Spirited Away I’m feeling much better. The official site is here.