The Red Balloon

Movie Information

In Brief: I confess that the charms of The Red Balloon (1956) wore rather thin for me a very long time ago (and the idea that this 34-minute film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay has always struck me as ridiculous), but this (mostly) gentle fantasy about a little boy (Pascal Lamorisse, the director's son) who is befriended by a balloon is a great favorite with many people. If you've never seen it, you should at least once. Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present The Red Balloon Friday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Albert Lamorisse
Starring: Pascal Lamorisse, Georges Sellier, Vladimir Popov, Paul Perley
Rated: NR



Here is something pretty rare — a movie that I have absolutely nothing more to say about than what I put in the short review. By all rights, I ought to like this. I like fantasy. I like balloons I even made a balloon film of my own back in the early 1990s — and I definitely appreciate the complexities of wrangling balloons, and how hard it is to make it appear that they aren’t being wrangled. But this…I don’t deny its cleverness or that it’s well made. Maybe it’s the cute musical score that hurts it. (The lousy condition of the print from which the DVD was made didn’t help. Surely, the Criterion disc looks better than this.) Whatever the case, The Red Balloon — for all its merits — doesn’t really work all that well for me.

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present The Red Balloon Friday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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