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, this Academy Award-winning short film has enchanted 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…
Innocence is overrated, and a great last shot can't fix everything.
A Parisian boy (Pascal Lamorisse) discovers a magical red balloon that follows him throughout his day, but becomes an object to possess for other children. Religious allegory is extraordinarily photographed (in Technicolor by Edmond Séchan) and, despite the sentimental simplicity, has a sweetness and a glorious dénouement.
A wonderful classic of children's film.
Balloon and Montmartre porn.
A marvelous, imaginative and magical short film (the only ever to have won an Oscar for best original screenplay) with a beautiful musical score and so many layers of meaning in its simple story that it should speak to most children and make any adult feel like a child again.
Call me a cynic, but I just can't understand the universal regard this short film has accumulated in its 60 years of release. The Red Balloon is cutesy, mawkish, and very, very French.
Perhaps I just didn't 'get' it: what exactly did the balloon represent? Was it symbolic of Pascal's ID, suppressed by teachers and parents alike? Or something more plainly obvious that I just didn't pick up on? Whatever the case, this ambiguity never felt deserved, but instead was somewhat irritating.
It's evident that many contemporary short filmmakers have taken an inspiration from its brisk, simple storytelling, but nothing significant made me feel that it's an essential slice of cinematic history, except for maybe the technical aspects of the balloon itself (how the heck did it float like that?!), and the beautifully simplistic framing.
Although it wasn't totally unwatchable, I sure am glad that it was only 30 minutes long.
3.5 out of 5 (B)
This was better when I was a little kid learning French.
Simple & wonderful.
UPDATED: June 23, 2016
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