Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon)
Released 10.15.1956

Directed and Written by Albert Lamorisse

Here is a short film that is so pure in its intention, so clever in its craft, and so artful in its result that it will win you over. Simply put, "The Red Balloon" is magical and timeless.

Perhaps you're like me and vaguely remember this film from somewhere in the canals of your childhood. I invite you to rediscover it and recapture the miracle, because that is what the best of films are. A young French boy finds and befriends a loyal red balloon, much to the envy of his classmates and much to the chagrin of his headmaster. He takes the balloon everywhere and they always seems to reunite when circumstances part their paths. It is as simple as the fantastical gets and with very little dialogue, though I think it would do even better without any.

The compositions of each shot are a delight unto themselves, but strung together highlight the merriment brought by the red balloon's escapades through a cheerless and melancholic Paris. The balloon is without words, but still communicates a jolly disposition. As our title character, we appreciate the bliss he brings to the lonely boy. When the jealousy of his peers erupts, we are treated to chases down cobblestone alleys and deft escapes.

You'll surely wonder how on Earth they achieved the effect of this versatile balloon. (Hint: If you look closely in the final moments you will begin to discover the answer). Here's a film that needs no translation because the visuals speaks for themselves. The parable of a conclusion adds to the charm and  increases splendor. It'll transfix children and amuse the adults. Most importantly, none of us are too old for its message(s).


CONTENT: some violence

1 comment:

Galyn said...

I remember seeing this movie when I was in college; I think it was in a Humanities class. I thought it was clever and I did like how it told a story with very few words. I think it's a classic.