HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Blanche
Park Row
Fighting Mad
Face Behind the Mask, The
Of Gods and Men
Return to Salem's Lot, A
We Are the Giant
Cinderfella
Nest, The
Riding High
Moontrap
Mad Mission Part 2: Aces Go Places
Escape from Tomorrow
Moebius
They Came Together
   
 
Newest Articles
Cold in July: Jim Mickle Q&A
Adventures in VHS: An Interview with Author Noel Mellor
Strongarm Tactics: The Ultimate in Eighties Action
Manor On Movies--Rocket Attack USA
Manor On Movies: The Calamari Wrestler
   
 
  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 2263 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.
   
Site Stats
Users online: 297
   

Latest Poll
Which is the funniest horror comedy?
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948)
Carry On Screaming! (1966)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Re-Animator (1985)
Mr Vampire (1986)
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Braindead (1992)
Zombieland (2009)
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Arvinder Seehra
  Yvonne Jarman
Sudar Kodi
  Jackie Curran
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Dan Schneider
   

 

Last Updated: