This, alongside the wonders of Miyazaki , was the strongest possible confirmation that there was a culture, complete in and of itself, of feature-length animated film outside of California. “Belleville” has most of the qualities I had discovered in French bandes-dessinees….great drawing, a protean dedication to detail, strong atmosphere, and typically and independently Gallic flair.
The prop- and background design are consistent and fresh…..e.g the ocean-going ships, the buildings, the automobiles, and the character design are strong. I find the dog repulsive, however...all too real, nearly malodorous...but, to change gear back to the positive, the colour palette is wonderfully pre-war shabby.
Some critics have complained of a lack of narrative , but this doesn’t bother me. I remain charmed by the sharply observed eccentricities….the triplets stage act and their fishing technique, the obese people on the streets of Belleville, Grandma’s wandering eye, her club foot and kitchen equipment physiotherapy. Highly and warmly recommended.