When I watched Le ballon rouge (The Red Balloon) a few weeks ago I knew I wanted to save it for a special post for today. On the 1st of June it’s The International Children’s Day and, although I believe every day is children’s day, what I’ve always loved about this particular day when I was little was that it signified the beginning of summer and the summer holiday which soon followed, with all the wonderful things it had in store.
Le ballon rouge (1956), which is one of the most beloved films of all time, reminded me about the beauty of childhood. Directed by Albert Lamorisse, it is a fantasy film which won the Palme D’Or for short films and the Oscar for best original screenplay, along with many other awards. The message is so simple, but the film, almost entirely wordless, is one of the best examples of pure cinema, so artistic, visually powerful and beautifully shot that it won a special place in my heart.
On his way to school one morning Pascal finds a stray red balloon. Soon a bond is created between the child and his new toy and they become inseparable. Pascal discovers the red balloon has a mind of its own and it follows him everywhere by its own will, waiting for him in the schoolyard, outside his bedroom, following him even inside the church, teasing him to make sure Pascal deserves its friendship. The red balloon becomes the best friend he doesn’t have and they attract the envy of the boys in the neighbouhood, who soon destroy it. The ending of the film is magical, when all the balloons in Paris gather and come to Pascal’s rescue, taking him on a fairy tale balloon ride over the city. Le ballon rouge will lift up your spirit. Aren’t we all children at heart? I only hope children today haven’t lost the innocence and joy of play.
I wish you a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to dream!
images: screen stills from the film, captured by me