Remember that feeling you had, even days after seeing Lost in Translation? You’d be going about your daily business and detect in yourself a lightness, a sense of happiness. Where’s it coming from, you would wonder? Then, you’d recall an image from the film, and realize that Lost in Translation stuck to you like a sweet barnacle. Same goes for the French film The Triplets of Belleville, which, like Translation, is currently being honored with Oscar nominations (for Triplets the categories are Best Animation and Best Song). A week after viewing this film at Key Cinema, I’m still laughing, remembering the chimerical images and insane situations created by filmmaker Sylvain Chomet. The plot is simple enough: A grandmother, trying to cheer up her sad grandson, gives him a bicycle. Fast forward some years later and there she is, riding a bike behind her now fully-grown — and absurdly proportioned — grandson as he trains for the Tour de France. Trouble ensues, though, as he is kidnapped during the sporting event, along with a couple of other competitors. The third main character of this film is the dog, and I venture that Chomet’s depiction of this pup is the most authentic and loving I have ever seen. Then there are the eponymous triplets, who open the film with a rousing tune (the Oscar-nominated “Belleville Rendezvous”), complete with a scene of Fred Astaire being eaten by his own shoes. Throughout, Chomet cajoles, surprises and delights, plying an aesthetic that ranges from the comic style of Jacques Tati to state-of-the-art 2D technology. Like Tati, Chomet’s work can be interpreted as a diatribe against corporatism, and the heartlessness of modern culture. Or, you can just laugh your ass off. Worried about subtitles? No need. There is little dialogue in this film, that clocks in under 90 minutes. I could go on, but mostly, I want to suggest the following route to Key Cinemas. If you can, begin downtown at the intersection of East and Market streets. Take the Market Street entrance ramp to I-65 South. Savor this route as it ascends: City officials plan to demolish this ramp and move it a couple of blocks south. Though there are viable economic reasons for this, this ramp is one of Indy’s most exotic landmarks. Near the apex of your ascent, when you’re still not sure if you’re driving straight into the sky, look around as the spires of churches and the top edge of billboards begin to poke into your peripheral vision. Here, in the otherwise flat landscape of downtown Indianapolis, you’ll discover a hint of the enchantment that awaits you, just south on I-65, at Key Cinemas. For movie times and directions, call 784-7454.
Jim Poyser is Executive Director of Earth Charter Indiana, a statewide organization that was one of over two dozen nonprofit partners in Greening the Statehouse. A former managing editor of NUVO, he won HEC’s Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2013.