HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Leatherface
Grimsby
Caniba
Bedroom, The
Dark Tower, The
Better Watch Out
Beguiled, The
Year of the Comet
Levelling, The
Dog Days
Annabelle Creation
Once Upon a Time in Shanghai
Sssssss
Woman in Question, The
Atomic Blonde
Doulos, Le
Okja
Bob le Flambeur
Wedding in White
Léon Morin, Priest
Napping Princess, The
Scorpions and Miniskirts
Berlin File, The
Beaches of Agnès, The
Blue Jeans
Garokawa - Restore the World
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Gleaners & I, The
Peter of Placid Forest
Golden Bird, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
   
 
  Red Balloon, The Up, up and awayBuy this film here.
Year: 1956
Director: Albert Lamorisse
Stars: Pascal Lamorisse, Georges Sellier, Vladmir Popov, Paul Perey, René Marion, Sabine Lamorisse, Michel Pezin
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: One morning in Paris, on his way to school, little Pascal (Pascal Lamorrise) discovers a shiny, red balloon tied to lamppost. He sets it free, shields it from the rain, under umbrellas belonging to bemused passers-by, and by treating the red balloon like a real person seems to bring it genuinely alive. It follows Pascal around the city, playing hide and seek. When a grumpy schoolteacher locks Pascal up in class, the balloon stalks the old grouch and bops him on the head. Boy and balloon enjoy happy days, but lurking around the corner are a gang of mean kids waiting to steal it away.

Running a mere thirty-four minutes and virtually dialogue free, this French children’s classic ably demonstrates how the simplest of ideas can make powerfully poetic cinema. Working much like an animator, writer-director Albert Lamorrise really does draw a moving performance out of the red balloon. As absurd as that sounds, you can see it come to life before your very eyes when chasing after a bus, gawping at its own reflection or - in the most magical of moments - saying hello to another, blue balloon being carried along by a little girl (Sabine Lamorisse). Aiding in the enchantment is the lyrical score by Maurice Leroux, which tingles and chimes like the balloon’s gently pulsating heart.

It is perhaps the frailty of the red balloon that makes us invest so much in its survival. The child’s plaything comes across as a symbol of dreams and joy returning to post-war Paris, whose bombed out ruins we see children clambering across here. However, the film’s message has been subject to fierce debate over the years, with some revelling in it encapsulates the joy of being a child again, while others - most notably Washington Post critic Philip Kennicott - calling it “a cynical fusion of capitalism and Christianity.” Kennicott would repeatedly denounce Lamorisse’s films as “taking place in a world of lies”, as would the great François Truffaut, who saw Lamorisse as a crass, feel-good sentimentalist. Fair enough and if you feel that way, there’s always Kes (1969). But even Truffaut could not deny that, like Walt Disney, Lamorisse is able to yoke warmth, laughter and sorrow out of an inanimate object - elements essential to cinema. When the gang of boys cruelly pelt the red balloon with stones, our hearts ache with sorrow. Surely that is worth some admiration.

An interesting character, Albert Lamorisse had equal success with his earlier children’s short, White Mane (1953), and also invented the popular strategy board game Risk. He was foremost a documentary filmmaker and whilst filming in Iran in 1970, died in a tragic helicopter accident, with his movie eventually completed by his wife and son. Pascal Lamorisse and his father made a feature-length balloon adventure called Stowaway in the Sky (1960), a movie that so impressed its narrator Jack Lemmon, he bought the American rights. The Red Balloon also inspired Flight of the Red Balloon (2007), a slightly more self-conscious drama by Hou Hsiao-hsien and starring Juliette Binoche.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3191 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Keith Rockmael
Paul Shrimpton
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
   

 

Last Updated: