Madame Souza has a tough time cheering up her mopey grandson Champion, but he finally perks up when she offers him a brand-new bicycle. An obsessed rider, he eventually trains hard enough to enter the Tour de France. During the grueling rally, Champion is kidnapped by mysterious mobsters and shipped off to the gothic North American metropolis of Belleville, where Madame Souza eventually journeys to rescue him.
A surreal, nearly wordless animated feature by French director Sylvain Chomet, "Belleville" incorporates elements of vaudeville, fantasy, and gangster films to spin an unusual yarn like no other you're likely to see. The Betty Boop-like characters are inspired grotesques that owe more to cartoons of yesteryear than fast-paced Disney/Pixar creations. With a fantastic jazz score and unforgettable singing trio of aged golden throats, "Belleville" is a triumph of dark humor and inventive animation.