(Re)cycling in Sylvain Chomet’s Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003): Spokes in the wheels of French exceptionalism and global exploitation?

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Sylvain Chomet’s animated feature Les Triplettes de Belleville (2003) makes recurrent references to cycles and recycling. Putting spokes in interlinking wheels, these offer new perspectives on the exploitative cycles of the global market and challenge some of the constituent discourses of French exceptionalism: economic, philosophical and cinematic. Instead of figuring a big bad American Other, the film exposes French co-implication in the global market, past and present, and in its exploitative entertainment industry. The examination these motifs reveals intersections with and divergences from altermondialiste debates and critics of (late) capitalism such as Barthes, Baudrillard, Debord and Derrida. Chomet also seeks to negotiate the ways in which his film in turn colludes in such cycles. Indeed Chomet’s recycling of cinematic techniques and images (feature and animation; French, Hollywood and anime; hand-drawn and CGI) invites the question of the enduring critical potential of cinema.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-276
Number of pages11
JournalFrench Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Sylvain Chomet
  • Les Triplettes de Belleville
  • animation
  • global market economics
  • recycling
  • French excpetionalism

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