Pandemonium in Paris
The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert involves an eight-piece orchestra playing, singing, and dancing live in sync to the Oscar-nominated animated feature film.

Pandemonium in Paris

Animated classic ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ to be screened with a live orchestra playing the score on stage

A rollicking adventure will unfold onscreen as an eight-piece orchestra plays, sings, and dances live and in sync to the Oscar-nominated, animated feature “The Triplets of Belleville” on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College.

Benoît Charest, the composer of the film soundtrack, conducts and plays with “Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville,” a group of well-known Québecois jazz musicians, as they transport audiences to the exciting streets of 1930s Paris and Le Jazz Hot era, where the film is set. The 2002 animated film follows the kidnapping of a Tour de France cyclist who is spirited across the ocean to the teeming metropolis of Belleville. His near-sighted grandmother and faithful dog follow his trail and are taken in by a trio of eccentric jazz-era divas. The motley sleuths follow the clues to an underground speakeasy, where they entertain the crowd. Then the chase is on for the henchmen and her kidnapped grandson.

Split-second timing

To mark the 10th anniversary of the film, Charest, a Montreal-based jazz composer and guitarist, decided to present a live soundtrack, played in sync with the film - which has no actual dialogue, the story being told entirely through sound effects, music, and visual action. The musical performance requires split-second timing and the use of some very unusual instruments - including a teapot, a newspaper, and an upside down bicycle.

The French/Quebec animated film was a resounding success, with nominations at the Academy Awards, the Canadian Genies, and the French Césars. It was a hit with audiences as well, with its visual mixture of grotesquerie and absurdity, and a storyline aimed straight at viewers' hearts. One of the main people responsible for this success was Charest, who wrote the music for the film and was nominated for a Best Music Oscar for the film, and Best Song Oscar for its theme song, “Belleville Rendez-Vous.” The New York Times called The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert “a tour de force of ink-washed, cross-hatched mischief.”

Accompanying activities

Several free activities will accompany the Oct. 28 performance on the Keene State campus:

• A public discussion with Charest on Music Composition for Film at 2 p.m. in the Redfern Art Center's Alumni Recital Hall. Charest will share some of his work and talk about his approach to collaboration and making music for film.

• A pre-show listening party and salon to sample the sounds of Le Jazz Hot and get in the swing of things with refreshments in the Harry Davis Room off the Redfern main lobby.

• A post-show meet and greet reception with the artists follows the performance in Redfern's main lobby.

Ticket discounts also are available to people who become members of the Redfern Circle. The Redfern also offers a student membership option.

The Triplets of Belleville Cine-Concert is sponsored by The Peak Radio.

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