Review - "Flight of the Red Balloon" (2007) (3H Productions)

WriterDave By WriterDave, 5th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Drama

There are a plethora of Parisian stories; from the classic "L'Atalante" to "Amelie"; in every genre and every decade of the last 100 years. Some tales can be unique, all the while paying respect to specific earlier film makers.

Hsiao-hsien Hou vs. Albert Lamorisse

“Flight of the Red Balloon” is one of those quiet, engaging films that one often sees come out of Europe. Except in this case, the film was helmed by Chinese director, Hsiao-hsien Hou, who rightly should be known as an international director since his awards are numerous and not exclusive to any one country. Hou pays homage to Albert Lamorisse’s 1956 classic “Le balloon rouge,” in various clever ways.

Juliette Binoche plays an actress/stage producer who is trying to raise her small, well-mannered child in Paris. Into this established family comes a student Binoche hires as a nanny. The film is nearly without plot, but instead is a kind of metaphor for childhood vs. adulthood. It’s one of those films that illustrates profound messages simply by showing everyday occurrences. As one watches the film, one begins to ask oneself, “What does the red balloon represent? Could the balloon be an angel or some kind of deity? Hou leaves it up to the viewer, of course, to his credit.

“Flight of the Red Balloon” mixes touches of fantasy with faux reality producing a skilled portrait of an extended family in the midst of what we can only call simply, happiness. Those who are familiar with the short groundbreaking film by Lamorisse will recognize the updated cobblestone streets and changing topography of Paris that both film makers utilize well. Hou seems to mirror the same routes that Lamorisse’s real son traversed in the earlier film. It’s a brilliant example of how one film can influence another, and Hou expertly draws a nice cyclical metaphorical balloon in the doing.


Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Juliette Binoche

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author avatar WriterDave
Writing can be many things to many people. For me, it is a way of expression and understanding. Reviewing films, hopefully helps myself and others better understand and get more out of the film.

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