Director: Albert Lamorisse
Cast: Pascal Lamorisse, Georges Sellier
Spoilers Within: No

Originally posted 2nd July 2016 on Letterboxd.

Call me a cynic, but I just can’t understand the universal regard this short film has accumulated in its 60 years of release. The Red Balloon is cutesy, mawkish, and very, very French.

Perhaps I just didn’t ‘get’ it: what exactly did the balloon represent? Was it symbolic of Pascal’s ID, suppressed by teachers and parents alike? Or something more plainly obvious that I just didn’t pick up on? Whatever the case, this ambiguity never felt deserved, but instead was somewhat irritating.


It’s evident that many contemporary short filmmakers have taken an inspiration from its brisk, simple storytelling, but nothing significant made me feel that it’s an essential slice of cinematic history, except for maybe the technical aspects of the balloon itself (how the heck did it float like that?!), and the beautifully simplistic framing.

Although it wasn’t totally unwatchable, I sure am glad that it was only 30 minutes long.

Grade: C