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With: Pascal Lamorisse, Georges Sellier, Vladimir Popov, Paul Perey, René Marion, Sabine Lamorisse, Michel Pezin
Written by: Albert Lamorisse
Directed by: Albert Lamorisse
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 34
Date: 10/19/1956

The Red Balloon (1956)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Inflatable Soul Mate

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This beloved children's short film, which won both an Oscar and a Palme d'Or, has enchanted people of many generations. It has very little dialogue, and it begins when a young boy, Pascal (the director's son Pascal Lamorisse), finds a large, red helium balloon on the way to school. He can't take it on the streetcar, and runs all the way to school with it. Soon he finds that the balloon will follow him, even if he lets go of the string. But of course, such a beautiful thing can't be allowed to exist and so bullies try to take the balloon away, which leads to a memorable, enchanting ending. Director Albert Lamorisse casts Paris in unbroken grays, even when it's not raining, which explains the gray track suit that poor Pascal has to wear day in and day out, even when the other kids get rain coats. The red balloon jumps out from all this dreariness, a symbol of love, trust, and/or hope. It has now become a favorite of my son's. Janus Films released the 2008 DVD, at a bargain price with no frills.

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