This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
The Red Balloon
In this deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale, a young boy discovers a stray balloon, which seems to have a mind of its own, on the streets of Paris. The two become inseparable, yet the world’s harsh realities finally interfere. With its glorious palette and allegorical purity, the Academy Award–winning The Red Balloon has enchanted movie lovers, young and old, for generations.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The December Project: Film #7
Many would have you believe that The Red Balloon is a sweet children's film about a boy and his friend, a red balloon seemingly with a life of its own. But there's something more sinister at work here.
No, The Red Balloon is actually a metaphor for an abusive relationship between a sexually charged young man and his new trophy girlfriend. He first meets her alone on the street. He initially intends to do waste with her, but she proves to be a loyal girlfriend after his mother (who he lives with because he is socially inept) tries to throw her out. Amazed by this demonstration of loyalty, the boy decides to keep the girl…
“Fly away, balloon!”
Little Pascal (Pascal Lamorisse) is bullied. By his peers, by his grandmother, by his headmaster. The world, a towering and imposing place, bears down on this wee lad. He needs a friend.
The balloon is abandoned. Tied to a lamppost by some thoughtless passerby. A bright spot against a damp, grey world. It could liberate, giving flight to one’s fancies, if only one would notice. It needs a friend.
Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon is as magical a film as the heart has ever seen. Pascal, walking to school one morning, frees the balloon from its curbside stanchion and finds himself enamored as only a child can be. And the balloon, in return, is grateful and sticks…
I have heard and read about The Red Balloon for years but tonight was the first time that I had watched it. This 34 minute short that only has a few lines of dialogue, actually won a Best Writing, Best Screenplay - Original Oscar. The movie is about a boy and his magic balloon. I had a smile on my face for almost the entire movie...as I enjoyed the story while trying to figure how they filmed the balloon parts. I never thought that a French film made in 1956 would get me thinking..."My little girls would love this movie...I wish they were not sleeping because we would watch it right now"...but this is how it is with The Red Balloon....my third 5 star movie that I have watched in 2013....track down and watch this wonderful movie....it will only take 34 minutes out of your busy life....but it is worth the time.
Review In A Nutshell:
Maybe I'm just not intellectual enough to understand or appreciate this film. I found this film to be so highly ambiguous that I was left distant the entire time. It wasn't until 30 minutes in that I gained some sort of idea of what the metaphor for the balloon is, and what I came up with felt highly far-fetched. I gained this idea that the balloon was a representation of the child's uniqueness and because of its out-there quality that the majority of society are intimidated and want it gone. The common theory that people have come up with revolves around the metaphor of innocence, but I wasn't able to feel this at all. On a…
The Good: The concept. The themes. The cinematography. The special effects. The musical score. The editing. The magic. Everything about it is sheer perfection. Endlessly watchable.
The Bad: None.
The Bottom Line: A simple, timeless masterpiece, The Red Balloon is the closest thing to a perfect film that I've ever seen. Essential viewing.
Tender, imaginative and profound, The Red Balloon is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt depictions of childhood I've ever seen; Albert Lamorisse's allegorical tale captures the simplicity of being a child [and the sweet possibilities that come from that] perfectly. One of the most special things about this wonderful little film is trying to understand what the titular Red Balloon represents; of course we can explore every frame of the film and give it a new meaning, but I think we'll all see it as a poetic metaphor to the dreams and goals of a child because of how sweet and good-hearted the film is. Plus, the lovely streets of Paris are beautifully shot, supported by a stunning color…
Magical and charming.
Still exquisitely perfect storytelling, and enrapturing to the two-year-old, six-year-old and thirty-four-year-old all sitting on the couch together.
my first ever short film (and my only animated film) was about a cactus befriending a balloon and it couldn't touch the balloon because it would pop it. i'm glad i didn't see this til now or else i would have felt very inferior
I showed this film to a group of 5-10 year olds after being told that kids don't have the necessary patience for art cinema in 2015, & unsurprisingly those adults were dead-wrong, the action in this acclaimed short film being driven by an utterly dynamic bright red balloon as it explores the nooks and crannies and social nooks and crannies of life in a drab, grey Parisian ghetto. I heard the kids were talking about the film afterward for months, and I was still thinking about it, too. A dynamic, complex, compassionate film.
The kids, even at 7 or 8, could understand the difference between something being "slow" and something being "boring," which many adults have since forgotten. The kids called it "slow" but not "boring" at all.
This is one of my favorites. A simple story told beautifully with almost no dialog.
The Red Balloon honestly had a big impact on my life.
My parents showed it to me when I was around 4 or 5, and it was just a beautiful and magical film with so much to it. I think it probably gave me the early stages of a love for cinema.
I remember talking to my Dad about how the balloon was a metaphor for Jesus - it's innocent, it's persecuted and 'killed', and then it comes back more beautiful than before.
The music in this film is beautiful. The practical effects to move the balloon are magical. The boy is sweet. It's all just great.
I'm pretty sure my elementary school owned a 16mm print of this, considering I must have watched this film a dozen times before I hit the Junior High. The simple narrative still allows the story to hold up well.
... 'cause this is the most beautiful depiction of childlike wonder, imagination and just all round children. If you haven't ever seen an inanimate object as your very best friend, you are probably a very lonely grown up right now. You probably started having sex before you barely knew what it even was. You obviously started drinking as soon as you knew where you're daddy kept his beer and you were a complete and utter dick to all the kids (and fuck it, probably even all the adults) that showed their healthy sense of imagination. If it wasn't for them, for us, for me, for you, this world would've gone to shit a long time ago!!
Honestly, it already is…
Beautifully shot French short. France matches with color red and blue so perfectly. The story was well-flowed/paced but I wonder why this film had to be 34 minutes. There's only a few dialogues and it's largely symbolic, which makes it universally connected. My only problem with this short was that I wasn't emotionally engaging with the story or character at all. It was delightful and very sweet though.
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