Live movie score guarantees to wow at Laxson


“Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville” performs for a crowd. Photo courtesy of Chico Performances

There is very little dialogue featured in the 2003 French film “The Triplets Of Belleville.” The animated characters communicate through eye contact, charming mannerisms and powerfully crafted pantomime.

Meanwhile, the emotion of these characters — the sheer romanticism of the entire film — is driven by the hard-hitting musical score which includes every sub-genre of jazz you can think of — cool, hot, ragtime, bebop and swing.

Also, among the French opening credits, a name appears in attribution: “Musique de Benoit Charest.”

Benoit Charest is an award-winning movie score composer and on March 5 he is bringing his eight-piece ensemble, “Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville,” to Laxson Auditorium. A colorful night will ensue as he directs the live movie score while the animated pastels of the Oscar-nominated film are projected in the background.

Movie screenshot from “The Triplets Of Belleville.” Photo courtesy of Chico Performances

Charest loves everything about bringing his music on the road. “It’s nice to get out of the studio,” he said during a recent phone interview. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Born in Montreal, Canada, Charest began playing and composing music from a very young age. He began by drawing inspiration from bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but jazz would be the vehicle that drove him to take private guitar lessons at the age of 17.

During his time in college he played his way onto the stages of some of Montreal’s greatest jazz musicians. After graduating, he soon began composing scores and jingles for films in the early ’90s. Some of his other work can be heard on feature films including, “Upside Down” (2012) and “Polytechnique” (2009).

“It’s very cool to see a live movie score,” said Bradley Martin, music and theatre department chair. “It brings something different to Laxson Auditorium.”

Bradley Martin, department chair of music and theatre. Photo credit: Matthew Manfredi

As excellent as the music is for “The Triplets of Belleville,” the plot equally rivals the film’s score.

Having a difficult time finding things in common with her bashful grandson, Madam Souza, notices the young boy taking an interest in cycling. This interest transforms into a passion and the grandmother’s relentless conviction fuels her grandson to be an unstoppable force in the Tour de France.

Soon after, a few tall, dark and suspicious-looking characters kidnap her adored grandson during the 3,500-kilometer race.

Needless to say, Madam Souza will stop at nothing to get her beloved grandson back.

The eight-piece ensemble performs for a crowd. Photo courtesy of Chico Performances

Along with directing the ensemble, Charest mainly focuses on playing guitar during the performance. With his award-winning and Grammy-nominated score accompanying the classic foreign film in real time, “The Triplets Of Belleville” guarantees to be a truly significant performance to take place at Laxson Auditorium.

Presented by Chico Performances, “The Triplets of Belleville” starts at 7:30 p.m. on March 5 at Laxson Auditorium. You can call 530-898-6333 for more information or visit Chico Performances for ticket sales.

Matthew Manfredi can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewmanfredi on Twitter.