Two recent films showed the influence of this classic French film about a little boy befriended by a red balloon and now the original is available on DVD for the first time. “CJ7” from China and “The Flight of the Red Balloon” from France (with a Taiwanese director) both make direct visual references to the 1956 short film, the only Oscar-winner for best screenplay without a single line of dialogue.
The Red Balloon is the story of a lonely boy (Pascal Lamorisse, son of writer/director Albert Lamorisse) who finds a large red balloon on the way to school. It has a mind of its own, following him to school like Mary’s little lamb, waiting patiently for him outside his bedroom window when his mother will not allow it in the house. The balloon is an imaginative and playful friend. When it is attacked by bullies, it seems that Pascal’s friend is lost. But an unforgettably joyous ending reminds Pascal of the power of friendship.