The red balloon movie

Albert Lamorisse directed an award-winning piece, Le Ballon Rouge, in 1956. It won, among multiple other awards, an Oscar. Foreign language didn’t make the film difficult to understand outside of France since few words are spoken throughout. It is a visual experience that can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. The children, the adults, and the red balloon in the film all have their own unique traits and desires which people can relate to easily.
In the beginning of the film, a young boy named Pascal shimmies up a short street pole after seeing a bright balloon near the top. He snatches, then carries it with him to a bus stop, but cannot take it on the bus. He decides to keep it anyways and head to school on foot. Under numerous strangers’ umbrellas, he protects it from the rain, oblivious to the many heads turning to watch as he walks by. When he finally arrives at school, the other children gather and leap for the balloon, which remains slightly out of their reach.
Boys besides Pascal become intent on destroying the balloon, simply because they can. Nobody interferes with their ploys to catch their target. The mischievous boys hide in alleyways, chase Pascal, and even attach a second string to the balloon in attempts to capture it. They won’t give up until they get exactly what they want: to rid the world of the balloon by any means possible.
Pascal, on the other hand, wants nothing but to protect the balloon to which he is so attached. He keeps it sheltered, tries to leave it in the care of a man sweeping the road when he can’t take it to class, rejects a bus ride to school for it, pulls it from bullies, and runs away from crowds in pursuit of the bright red balloon. Despite the fact that it is being hunted, he is happy to have it close. The children’s world is composed of opposite feelings and actions constantly at war with each other.
The balloon’s existence is entirely different. It doesn’t seem to fear its capture the way Pascal does. It teases almost everyone; nobody besides one small boy can grab hold of its taunting string, and even he needs to trick it into being caught on occasion. Also, it has a surprising sense of humor that frustrates adults. For instance, by sneaking through a window, it disrupts class and gets Pascal in trouble. He is removed from class as punishment. The balloon follows him and hovers outside the window, staying close to him wherever he goes.
Pascal and the balloon have relationship comparable to one between a pet and its owner; the balloon may wander, but it always returns. It exists fearlessly and gives a young boy something to cling to and watch over, at least until its inevitable end. After being bombarded by stones, it floats downward until one child finishes it off with a stomp. No adults interfered in the end, or much at all, for that matter.
Adults did not seem to understand the attachment between Pascal and the balloon. The principal was annoyed by it, as was the boy’s mother, who tried to set it free. Adults noticed it first from their windows, where they kept constant watch. In fact, three adults were peering out of one window near the end of the film, but they couldn’t see the importance of what was happening. To them, there was simply a balloon being chased by a crowd of rowdy boys. They oversaw much more than they interfered; in the eyes of an adult, no balloon is all that important.
The worlds of adults, children, and the balloon were portrayed together in the film realistically. The adults and bullies worked against what was special to Pascal, who did everything in his power to keep the balloon safe. He was its protector. When it was popped, all of the balloons in Paris floated into the sky and gathered. After that, the mass of balloons went to the boy. He tied their strings together and they carried him off into the sky, as if to reward him for taking care of the red balloon in the face of adversity.
Le Ballon Rouge; Albert Lamorisse; Pascal Lamorisse; 2007; Video; Films Montsouris, 1957