EST. 2009

February 21, 2010

That Ballon Rouge

HOPEFUL, CAREFREE, CHILDLIKE. Albert Lamorisse's Le Ballon Rouge is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. And yet, I found that I could not fully relate to its innocence and simplicity.

Shot in the Ménilmontant neighborhood of Paris, the 34-minute short film Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon) tells the tale of a boy, Pascal, who meets a mute red balloon with a life of its own. The balloon follows Pascal around town until the two appear to become friends.

It doesn't take long before other boys in the neighborhood express envy towards Pascal and his new friend. They hunt down Pascal and the balloon until they finally capture the two, leaving Pascal defenseless as the boys violently kill his friend, driving it to the ground lifeless and deflated.

In the end, all the balloons in the city band together to lift a dispirited Pascal up in the air for a breezy balloon ride over the city.


My unfortunate inability to connect with the film may have been brought about by the pessimism I've developed, along with feelings of confinement to newly acquired grown-up duties. You'd think that a positive, youthful frame of mind would easily shake off the negativity but in my case, it only highlighted my own punctured sense of freedom.

Maybe I'll relate better when a band of balloons take me up, up and away from this rigid, grounded, duty-bound life. Until then, I will simply like this film for its visual perfection.

Screenshots from Le Ballon Rouge, 1956.

Directed by Albert Lamorisse, featuring his own son, Pascal Lamorisse, as Pascal. Cinematography by Edmond Séchan. Music by Maurice Leroux.


Anonymous said...

goosebumps because of the story. i want to see it! and i want my own red balloon. =) i wonder if this is what inspired Up. =)

Anonymous said...

Offsets are like little balloons

Lady San Pedro said...

Chin, I thought the exact same thing!

Anonymous, even offsets you have to fight for nowadays :-)

nikhol said...

beneath the pessimism, you're still a gentle soul :-)