Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Inspiration Wednesdays: The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge)


A fanciful short film about a young boy who is followed around Paris by a friendly red balloon. Screened daily at the Museum of the Moving Image right here in Queens, I remember first watching this movie in elementary school and connecting with this little boy in France.

Watching the movie again years later, the first thing I noticed was just how gray everything other than the balloon is. Seeing post-war Paris - with its bombed out buildings, gray stone cathedrals and buildings, dour citizens - transformed by a simple balloon back into a city of life and hope is heartwarming. The little boy, naturally dressed in gray, with his local bullies, strict grandmother and mean schoolmaster, needs the balloon most of all.

Pascal was played by Pascal Lamorisse, the son of the director Albert Lamorisse. Pere Lamorisse was trained as a photographer (and later invented the board game RISK), and had already directed the also wonderful Crin blanc: Le cheval sauvage (White mane: the wild horse) and won the Palm d'Or at Cannes for each and an Academy Award for Le ballon rouge. In both films, he shows he understands children very well. Their love of wandering, the fact that youth is not always easy, the wonder in simple pleasures.

It is a short movie at just over 30 minutes, but perfect for the youngest viewers for just that reason. My daughter squealed with laughter more than once and loved the ending. In the midst of a tough winter, maybe we need the balloon now too.

1 comment:

  1. My boys would love this movie, Kristin. Thanks for sharing it!