Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon) / Albert Lamorisse / 1956
Lamorisse began as a documentarian, which makes this flight of fancy, his greatest success, all the more surprising. Rather than using his camera to straight-forwardly survey an environment and its people, here he had to rely on the persuasions of cinematography, editing, and sound—and some very thin threads—to make his audience believe in magic, that his titular character was a plausible living being, emoting and reacting without the benefit of a voice or even a face. In a sense, The Red Balloon is one of the all-time greatest examples of pure cinema. ➡︎
Lamorisse added all the aural effects and minimal dialogue in postproduction—as Jacques Tati did for his urban fantasies—resulting in a slight disconnect between what we see and hear, lending every moment an otherworldly, magical edge. ➡︎
During that chaotic period of time, a considerable number of French citizens severely criticized the government’s use of armed forces to maintain the control over territorial colonies such as Algiers and Indochina. Furthermore, the memories of the Nazi occupation of Paris were painfully fresh for many. Therefore, The Red Balloon obviously considers the brutal nature of the human condition. Indeed, this film suggests that irrational violence and aggression are innate to mankind. And in a sense, it questions the way modern society appears to condone and reinforce feelings of xenophobia, alienation, discrimination, and antagonism. ➡︎
◼︎ In Paris, tracing the path of ‘The Red Balloon’ / Liam Callahan / 2014
⨂ The Paris of Albert Lamorisse's "The Red Balloon"
⨂ Het Parijs van Le Ballon Rouge: Belleville / Piet Schreuders / FURORE #21
▶︎ Critics' Picks: The Red Balloon / A. O. Scott / The New York Times