Red Balloon, The

42. THE RED BALLOON (1956-France). COLOR. Directed and scripted by ALBERT LAMORISSE. Starring PASCAL LAMORISSE, and “ALL THE BALLOONS Of PARIS.” This Academy Award-winning short is easily one Of the most charming and delightful films you could ever hope to see. Its scenario is sweet’ and simple: while on his way to school one day, a young French boy (Pascal Lamorisse, the son Of the director) befriends a bright red balloon, which joins him as he wanders all over Paris. Essentially, the story is set within the boy’s fantasy world; the balloon, in its way, becomes a symbol Of hope and dreams – as well as a sobering reminder Of the insensitivity and cruelty Of those who carelessly wreck them. Beyond this symbolism, however, the film is a prime example Of poetry and lyricism on celluloid, and is sure to enchant children and adults alike. Over 25,000 balloons were used during the film’s production, at a cost Of over one million francs. In addition to its Oscar, the film earned the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival (where it was greeted with a standing ovation), and a British Academy Award as “Best Specialized Film.” It also won a place on the New York Times annual ten-best films list, a rare accomplishment for a short film. By the way, its Oscar was for Best Original Screenplay, beating out a quartet Of feature-length films. No dialogue; the story is told entirely via visuals, music and street voices and sounds. Highly recommended. 34 minutes. Drama-Fantasy