Follow the Parisian Adventures of The Red Balloon

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Look, here is a promise from me to you: There is no more better way to spend 34 minutes of your time tonight than sitting down and (re)watching The Red Balloon.


The featurette begins with a boy who finds this new floating friend on the way to school one day, then follows their exploration of Paris for the afternoon. From the moment he scales a lamppost to fetch it—freeing it from a knot at the top then resourcefully sticking the string between his teeth to get back down again—it's clear these two are going to be buddies.

When it was released in 1956 it won a Palme D'Or at Cannes and an Oscar for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)—an impressive feat considering the whole thing is nearly dialogue-free. It's beautifully shot and so so so so so wonderfully, refreshingly simple. Plus it's fascinating to see how much personality director Albert Lamorisse was able to instill in the inanimate headliner; with a few tugs of some invisible wire rigging the red balloon is given a life of its own, minus any kind of wacky anthropomorphizing or cutesy character development.

I won't spoil the ending but this pre-Up fantasy flick is probably going to take you on an emotional helium ride in the wind: up, then down, then up again. [Netflix, Youtube]



My grandparents had taped this from HBO back when I was growing up and I used to beg them to let me watch it every time I went over there. I see it on Hulu all the time, but this may just be the nudge I need to watch it for the first time in probably 20 years.