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I add to my commentary that the only place in the world the DVD of this
film is available is the USA ( as of September 12 2005). The quality of
this pressing and the colours leave to be desired .. they are rather
washed out and with plenty of clicks and pops. The DVD is NOT region
coded and will work on any machine accepting the NTSC color system. It
is therefore better than nothing and will partly satisfy those who have
been waiting for years to see this film again !
This truly magical and picturesque film is the colour record of the Belleville area of Paris which was razed to the ground during the late 1960's and left as waste land for 20 years.
Ninety-five percent of what you see in the film exists no more, the bakeries, the famous Y-shaped staircase situated just beyond the equally famous café "Au Repos de la Montagne" , the long-gone steep steps of the rue Vilin where Pascal finds the balloon initially etc, the waste ground where all the battles took place. All this has gone for ever, disappeared into another dimension, and has been replaced by a featureless modern-day park surrounded by ugly high-rise blocks built in the seventies and where it is not always safe to walk alone - the kids there certainly aren't running about after balloons these days, they're more interested in throwing stones at passers-by ! I personally visited recently on several occasions the site of where this was filmed and couldn't believe my eyes - it was like two different worlds !
One or two shots are taken in Montmartre and there is a brief glimpse of the Seine but be advised that the quasi-totality of the film was shot in Belleville and the adjacent "quartier des Pyrenees". Only the large church ( Notre-Dame de la Croix, between the Place Maurice Chevalier and the Place de Ménilmontant ) remains today, dwarfed by the high rise blocks I mentioned earlier. Only when you look to the top flats of the houses in the rue des Envierges and the sky beyond, can you maintain the illusion that time has stood still ! The opening scene in the film where Pascal is just about to go down the staircase cannot be reproduced today - both the bakery to his left - and the "Maison du Meunier" to his right (as well as the staircase) have been completely demolished !
Picture quality in the film is excellent and the weather seems to have been quite fine when they made it though I hasted to add that the recent DVD does not render justice to this.
The little boy in the film, Pascal Lamorisse, is the son of the director (Albert Lamorisse ). I wonder what has become of him. We here nothing of him today.........
The film unfortunately seems more well-known abroad than in France itself, where it would appear to have fallen into total oblivion, no doubt one day some bright spark will have it remastered and cleaned up and put on to a good quality DVD for future generations of children and adults alike.
I wonder, is there any other 30 minute short produced in the history of film
that is more enchanting and moving than "Le Ballon rouge"?
The vivid colors and the wonderful use of Paris scenery is only part of the experience, another large part is the touching performance by the director's six year old son Pascal in the lead (how lucky he didn't fall and break his neck in that opening scene where he finds the balloon!). The look on his face in the final scene is every bit as heartbreaking as that of Jackie Coogan in Chaplin's legendary "The Kid". The whole movie is reminiscent of the best Chaplin had to offer, mixed with a little Jacques Tati and a touch of storybook fantasy. On the basis of only *one* *short* film Albert Lamorisse will forever see his name in gold print in the annals of movie history, which is quite an achievement!
It will tear your heart with joy, fascination, sorrow and spellbind you with jubilation in just 30 minutes! A true classic, well deserving of it's screenplay Oscar, only a demon could be cold enough in his heart to dislike it!
Now pleeeaaase; release it on DVD!
This film is one of my all-time favorites. I consider it a masterpiece, and an emotionally moving experience. As an allegory on the power of love and friendship, it is unsurpassed. Yet one senses deeper, more profound meanings with the balloon as a symbol of the spirit and resilience of life itself, being able to mutate and regenerate itself in an endless flow of passion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The RED BALLOON was introduced to me in elementary school when I was in
the third grade. I have vivid memories of the mother putting the
balloon out of the window and it stayed near-by, of the boys breaking
the balloon and of the "rescue" of the boy by the balloons of Paris.
Even after 35 years I remember it with fondness.
I work for a school district and was excited to find a VHS copy of the film at the media center. I immediately checked it out to share with my students. Watching it again after all these years was like going back in time it filled my with awe and wonder. With the added bonus of seeing these third graders respond to it the same way I did all those years ago.
I would recommend this film to elementary classroom teachers as a stepping-off to teach story-telling and to mid-school and high-school teachers teaching film. It is a wonderful classic that shows that the simplest story can have great impact when told with care and love.
Of those who have expressed their feelings about THE RED BALLOON, most have seen it with wonderous eyes through the vision of childhood. I first saw it theatrically when it played in Salt Lake. I would see it several more times in theatres over the years. Later, I acquired a Technicolor 16mm print of the film, which I will be showing to a group of families this evening as part of their New Year's Eve 2003 celebration. It will be interesting to see if the film's magic still works. For me, THE RED BALLOON is something of allegory. The little boy is like many of us in the world -- searching for meaning, friends, love. Into his life comes something very beautiful, something that brings him great delight and joy. The adults around him have no use or time for this intruder. The children are fascinated by it. When they can not posesse the balloon for themselves, they destroy it. The balloon resurrects itself and gathers in all the other balloons of Paris. They lift the boy and carry him off into a world not subject to hate and destruction and uncaring. In a way, the balloon is a Christ like figure that is rejected by mankind -- finally murdered -- and then resurrects. THE RED BALLOON is a beautiful film on whatever level a viewer cares to look at it. It remains one of those special, magical films that only comes along once in a great while!
THE RED BALLOON rescued by a small Parisian lad will
transform his life in unbelievable ways.
This is a marvelous film, full of love & hope, searing sorrow & overwhelming joy. It is also a classic example of what can be done in a very limited time frame, with a compelling story and genius behind the camera.
The special effects are still entrancing, with wonderful editing & camerawork which turns the byways & alleys of old Paris into the canvas on which this fantasy is painted.
Director Albert Lamorisse's young son, Pascal, is the very fortunate star of this urban fairy tale.
If the tribulations & persecutions of the Red Balloon appear to be a type of Epiphany, that is probably no coincidence.
Le Ballon Rouge is a masterpiece in Short Film making. It tells the story of the day of a life of a parisian boy who finds a red balloon on his way to school. Or rather it finds him. Everybody, it seems is rather keen to see the boy get rid of the balloon. He arrives at school and is not allowed to bring the balloon in with him. He lets it go and it flies off, only to be waiting for him at the end of the day, hovering outside in the school yard. Further adventures ensue throughout the day culminating in a spectacular ending for the boy. It is wonderfully directed by Albert Lamorisse. This fantasy is elegant in direction and editing on the screen. The acting is understated and quite delightful. It has always been my favourite of all Short Films. I wonder if it exists as a theatrical print. I've only ever seen it on TV. I'd love to see it projected.
With the little grey cells thinner on the ground nowadays, music recall has sadly become a casualty. Asking me to hum a bit of Mozart from memory (I love Mozart) will draw a blank most days. What price then that the gentle melody that accompanies this lovely film came easily back to me over forty years as I read through the postings. It surprised me that no one has highlighted the film's music; for me it eased the belief that a child's balloon trailing a piece of string could display intelligence, devotion, a sense of humour, and then great pathos in its dying. Of course, if this was acting, it was great acting, and how good to hear that the film has resurfaced. I shall continue to watch the listings until it make it onto terrestrial TV, and the get-together will not disappoint. I know this. When I hummed the theme tune through, tears came to my eyes.
I can't recall where I first saw this film I only remember that I was very young and that it left a lasting impression on me. It was some 20 years later that I saw it again only for the second time and it brought back such fond memories. For me this movie is magical and brings out feelings of love, sadness and finally one of sear joy. I feel this is a movie for all ages and is a timeless classic. I've seen many movies over the years and for a movie to stay with you like this one has for me says something. Sadly I have had a hard time trying to find this movie in video stores and it rarely runs on TV which is unfortunate. But to the general public if you ever get the chance to see this classic by all means do.
This is one of the first films I remember seeing. My grandfather was kind
enough to record it off of television for me when I was only one or two
years old. I remember enjoying it alot as a very young child and I enjoy
this film just as much, if not even more, today. I can appreciate the story
more, now that I'm older. It is one of the truly best short films ever
right up there with the best of Chaplin and other great short-film
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