Wednesday 20 January 2010

Flight of the Red Balloon [2007]

First French film by acclaimed Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Flight of the Red Balloon was inspired by and is a loving homage to Red Balloon, the much loved 1956 short film by Albert Lamorisse. True to that short, a red balloon forms the motif and the quiet driving force for this restrained and tender look at a Parisian family. The movie opens with Simon, a seven year old kid, trying to woo the balloon to come within his grasp, but he fails despite his best efforts. As we are slowly introduced to his family, comprising of him and his mercurial single mother (expertly played by Juliette Binoche), we think of, at first glance, any other quotidian family. But we soon realise that the first scene was a subtle summation of the family too, where undercurrents of failed hopes and dreams are just about masked by a seemingly ‘normal’ exterior. Like good French wine, this leisurely-paced, contemplative and emotionally rich arthouse character-drama too slowly yet surely grows onto its viewers. The wonderfully soothing cinematography and the melancholic classical-based soundtrack add to the beauty and pathos permeating the movie.

Director: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Urban Drama/Family Drama
Language: French
Country: France


Alex DeLarge said...

Another great review, and a film that made my Top Ten list last year.

I've never seen THE RED BALLOON but it was just released on blu-ray in the UK and is being shipped as we speak! I may watch this one again after seeing the classic.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Alex.

Yeah, I too would like to see the original short Red Balloon, and yes I guess watching this movie again after that would be the most pertinent thing to do for me too.