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Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

The theme for my Blogging A-Z Challenge 2017 focuses on films that won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge)

The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge) is an interesting exception to a winning Best Original Screenplay in that it is a short film. Released in 1956, it is a French film by Albert Lamorisse, who both wrote and directed this delightful 34-minute classic. It also won the Palme d’Or for best short film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Nearly a silent movie with very little dialogue, it follows the adventures of a little boy, Pascal (Pascal Lamorisse) after he finds a red balloon. The balloon turns out to have magical powers, and follows the boy around the streets of Paris, to school, to his home, and to his childhood playgrounds. The red balloon is almost like a pet, loyal and faithful.

It is beautifully filmed, and the streets of Paris are as narrow and winding as I recall from when I visited this beautiful city. Being filmed in 1956, Paris appears to have not recovered from the war totally. There are lots of crumbling buildings around and vacant lots where boys challenge each other and carry on with their rough games and bullying.

We see Pascal and the red balloon head off to school, the little children joining him in the queue to enter the building, so cute in their school clothes, marching in with child size briefcases. Most of the boys are wearing shorts, and the girls sweet little dresses. There is magic in the air for certain wherever this balloon goes. The musical score nicely complements the adventures of Pascal and his red balloon.

The little boy, Pascal, is the son of the director and writer. His daughter Sabine also appeared in the movie. I imagine the streets where this was filmed now looks completely different some 50 years later.

The Red Balloon is the only short film to win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Why this was placed in with the full-length features that year is up for speculation. It was a groundbreaking film at the time, which is why I suppose it was included.

There are Academy Award categories for Live Action Short, Animated Short, and Documentary Short. They can be no longer than 40 minutes in length, including the credits (The Red Balloon was 34 minutes!). This year I was able to watch all three categories of nominated shorts at my local art cinema. I enjoyed them immensely, and I recommend you seek them out next year prior to the awards ceremony. They may be short, but tell a good story in as little as a few minutes. The creativity, skill, and talent that go into these short films amazes me.

It’s interesting that balloons are such a joy to so many children and even to adults. They’re colorful, light and airy, and with helium in them, they float to the ceiling. What is it about them that is so appealing to you? Perhaps you could share a story in the comments below about a favorite memory with balloons in your own life.

8 comments:

  1. Found your blog through the A to Z Challenge. I don't have a specific story to share about balloons. I am amazed, though, at the high-tech, computerized world in which we live and the amazing fact that those simple balloons still delight, encourage and enamor us. And they cost next to nothing. Good to see/know that we still have our imaginations intact and that balloons are appreciated. Thanks for the wonderful movie review. I will seek it out! www.dianeweidenbenner.com

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    1. Thanks for visiting. Kids and adults alike think balloons are wonderful! Maybe that's why we fly in big balloons up in the sky, like at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta that occurs yearly where I live.

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  2. Your description of the movie makes it sound really good. I might have to search it out. Girl Who Reads

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    1. I found it via Amazon streaming, with a 7 day free trial of IndieFlix Shorts.

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  3. Balloons are just so cool with their rubbery squishiness and rainbow colors. Oh, how clever we were to rub them against our sleeve and walk around with them clinging to our clothes. Then pop them in each others face. That what siblings are for, right?

    Thanks for visiting my site. I grew up in Wisconsin by Lake Michigan.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me of that practice, rubbing balloons to make them stick to our clothes! What fun!

      I grew up in the countryside just west of Waukesha. Thanks for providing a link to my blog on your site! I have done the same for you. I don't know why I didn't think of doing that sooner. Still learning.

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  4. So glad you've blogged about this movie, not many people know about it. I only got to see it a few years ago myself and was so impressed with the simplicity of the story but how well the film was. And the cinematography is great too. It is definitely an art film and slightly surrealist, but I enjoy those types of films.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. Glad you got to see it too.

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