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[First Look] Sylvain Chomet’s ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ Prequel ‘Swing Popa Swing’

Written by on January 15, 2013 

I don’t know where I’ve been, but the distinguished French animator Sylvain Chomet has apparently been working on a prequel to his Oscar-nominated The Triplets of Belleville for almost a year now. We first reported on the project back in May of last year — an announcement I clearly glossed over — and, today, we’ve finally been given our first look at the film, which appears to be crafted with the same homespun delicacy of his first two features. [Twitch]

Titled Swing Popa Swing, the prequel will “[go] back to the triplets’ childhood and [deal] with their relationship with their 100-year-old father, who wishes the trio to concentrate on studying medicine rather than music. There will also be sci-fi elements in the subplot involving aliens and a battle between CIA and KGB agents trying to capture their spacecraft.” (Wow, really?) That sounds like a lot for Chomet to be taking on, if only because his first two features ran a brisk 80 minutes, but he’s surely as economical a visual storyteller as there is around: it’s hard to doubt his ability to condense the material in whatever fashion he should so choose.

Interestingly, producer Didier Brunner — of the French production company Les Armateurs, who also backed Triplets — has stated that Swing Popa Swing “may be developed as a stereoscopic 3D CG-animated film.” According to Brunner, the film “is currently in the conceptual phase and seeking co-financing partners at the annual Cartoon Movie event,” so it’s conceivable that such a technological decision would perhaps increase the commercial viability of the project.

As warmly received as Chomet has been by the Academy, his films haven’t exactly been financial powerhouses — though it’s worth noting that Triplets certainly proved to be a stronger economical force than The Illusionist (which I think is an even better film). Hopefully the same stays true of Swing Popa Swing — one need only look at how drearily monotonous this year’s animated races have been to see that the field’s mainstream is in need of some artistic firepower.

What do you think of the image? Were you a fan of Triplets of Belleville?

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