Madame Souza takes care of her orphaned grandson Champion, who doesn't seem to want to do much of anything. Even a pet dog, Bruno, becomes just as chubby and down in the dumps as the boy. One day Madame discovers the boy's fascination with bicycle racing. She gets him a tricycle to start, and eventually is training him for the Tour de France. He's not very good, however, and some sinister, block-shaped hoods from the French mafia kidnap Champion and a couple other poor racers for some nefarious purpose and bundle them away across the ocean. But Madame and Bruno are in hot pursuit, all the way to "Belleville" (a sort of amalgam of New York, Montreal, and Quebec). They team up with the Triplets of Belleville -- an elderly trio of singing, dancing sisters who used to perform with Django Reinhardt, Fred Astaire, and Josephine Baker (or people LIKE them) in the olden days -- who dine on grenade-harvested frogs and help them with their rescue mission. This very oddball hand-animated 2003 cartoon, written and directed by Sylvain Chomet, is told mostly with visuals and music: what dialogue there is, is negligible and often just gibberish that is wholly unnecessary to understanding the story. The tale starts out slow but gets better and better in its own weird and wonderful way.
This report prepared by David Loftus