Criterion Collection: Red Balloon
Most of French director Albert Lamorisse's films celebrate the miracle of flight, but few were as landmark as his 1956 short subject The Red Balloon. The story, told with a minimum of dialogue, concerns a little boy (played by the director's son Pascal) who comes across a helium-filled balloon. As he plays with his new acquisition, the boy discovers that the balloon seemingly has a mind of its own. The little red orb follows its new "master" all through the streets of Paris, then dogs the boy's trail into the schoolroom, which drives the teacher to comic distraction. Towards the end, it seems as though boy and balloon will be parted forever....but director Lamorisse has a delightful surprise in store for us. In an unusual move, The Red Balloon in its American TV premiere was introduced by Ronald Reagan as an episode of the CBS anthology G.E. Theater on April 2, 1961.