One of the best-loved and least-sentimental children's films of all time, this Oscar-winning short revolves around lonely little Pascal (Pascal Lamorisse, the director's six-year-old son), who has no siblings and no knack for making friends at school. While on his way to the bus stop, he spots a large red balloon, its string tangled around a light post, and rescues it. Pascal isn't allowed to take the balloon on the bus, so he walks to school and leaves his new "friend" in the janitor's room for safekeeping. When Pascal returns home his mother discards the balloon, but it hovers faithfully outside the window and from that point forward follows Pascal like a dog. The balloon eventually attracts the attention of a group of rougher boys who try to steal it. Pascal protects the balloon the first time, but the boys later gang up on him and stone the balloon when it comes to his defense. The balloon pops and Pascal is left in tears. But he's not alone: A flock of multi-colored balloons float gently towards the disconsolate child and lift him high above the rooftops of Paris. Yes, the film is French, but the story is told so skillfully through images alone that many people don't even realize there's no dialogue until it's pointed out to them. Though made for children, the film's themes are mature and handled with great sophistication; decades after its debut it can reduce a roomful of cynical adults to tears. THE RED BALLOON won an Oscar for best original screenplay, competing against the feature-length JULIE, THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE, Federico Fellini's LA STRADA and William Rose's THE LADYKILLERS. Photographer-turned-filmmaker Lamorisse never made another film that achieved the near-perfection of this instant classic; he was killed in a helicopter crash in 1970 while shooting a documentary in Iran.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: One of the best-loved and least-sentimental children's films of all time, this Oscar-winning short revolves around lonely little Pascal (Pascal Lamorisse, the director's six-year-old son), who has no siblings and no knack for making friends at school. Whil… (more)