The Red Balloon

I am listening to the new Katie Melua CD, The House, hand-delivered to me from Europe by my friend Gabriel, who was kind enough to grant my desperate request to pick it up as I simply could not wait…simply…could…not…wait until August 3 when it was released here.  I am delighted that the CD is everything and more than I had hoped.  But that is another story.

As I sit and savor each of the songs in this etherial, moody and so-sublime CD, I focus in on the song “The Red Balloons”.  All of a sudden I am reminded of the short film The Red Balloon, which had such an impact on me when I was little.  You remember the story.  Pascal, the little French boy, spies a red balloon on his way to school.  The balloon has a mind of its own, and follows him to school, befriending and delighting him in the process.  When Pascal is in school, the balloon waits for him.  When school is over, Pascal is reunited with the balloon.  He meets a little girl who also has a balloon – a blue one this time, and together they explore the streets of Paris with their balloons.  Of course, as so often is the case, envy takes over, and the local boys ultimately destroy the balloon.  The film ends as the other balloons in Paris come to Pascal’s aid and take him on a balloon ride over Paris.

I looked up the film on Wikipedia.  Some interesting fun facts:

The Red Balloon (French: Le Ballon rouge) is a 1956 fantasy short film, directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse.[1]

The thirty-four minute short, which follows the adventures of a young boy who one day finds a sentient, mute, red balloon, was filmed in the Ménilmontant neighborhood of Paris, France.

It won numerous awards, including an Oscar for Lamorisse for writing the best original screenplay in 1956 and the Palme d’Or for short films at Cannes. The film also became popular with children and educators.

Lamorisse used his children as actors in the film. His son, Pascal Lamorisse, plays Pascal in the main role, and his daughter Sabine portrays a little girl.

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