Saturday, April 5, 2008

Le ballon rouge

I first chanced upon this 1956 French film by Albert Lamorisse on TV, and ever since I've been looking for a videotape or a DVD. Once I taped it from the TV station Arte, but they started early and I missed the start.

I wanted to have it for my children and myself because it's quite simply one of the best short films I can think of. For what it's worth, the film won a Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1956, and it's the only short film ever to win an Oscar outside of the short-film categories (for Best Screenplay, against La strada, The Bold and the Brave and The Ladykillers).

I'm not going to give anything away, because a first-time watching should be entirely from scratch. It's only 38 minutes long, and it won't matter a bit if you don't understand the French (there's next to no dialogue). I found it, finally, on Google Video, thanks to the excellent site Smashing Telly.

Albert Lamorisse, by the way, also invented the board-game Risk.


Jefe said...

I'll definitely check this out. I find great short films, like great short stories, to be often more rewarding than their feature-length counterparts. There's no time for lulls, nowhere to hide poor dialogue, no room for missteps. You have to make every single second count. True artistry. Thanks for the link.

Joe the Troll said...

I remember seeing this when I was very young- six years or younger, because we still lived in Carpentersville. I remember it because there was a restaurant near our home called the Red Balloon and I made the connection. As I recall, the lack of English didn't hurt the film at all, because there was so little dialogue in the first place.

O' Tim said...

Grapes, this is awesome - thank you! I saw this film on numerous occasions in elementary school, and always watched it enrapt (I was such a sensitive little soul in those days). It is a magnificent film, and great to have all the memories flood back as well.

O' Tim said...

BTW, it was 1965 not 1956, n'est-ce pas?

Grapes 2.0 said...

Yeah, Tim. The Google listing is wrong.