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Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)

Juliette Binoche , Hippolyte Girardot , Hsiao-Hsien Hou  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Juliette Binoche, Hippolyte Girardot, Simon Iteanu, Fang Song, Louise Margolin
  • Directors: Hsiao-Hsien Hou
  • Writers: Hsiao-Hsien Hou, François Margolin
  • Producers: François Margolin, Kristina Larsen, Rémi Burah
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2008
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B001CDFY46
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,285 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Flight of the Red Balloon" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Inspired by Albert Lamorisse's classic 1956 Academy Award®-Winning short*, Flight of the Red Balloon is the latest masterwork from director Hou Hsiao Hsien (Three Times, Millennium Mambo). Expanding on the key elements of Lamorisse's short - a young boy, a red balloon and Paris - Hou weaves the tale of a boy, Simon (Simon Iteanu) dealing with the increased fragility of his loving yet preoccupied mother, Suzanne (Academy Award® - Winner Juliette Binoche** of The English Patient, Caché). When a Taiwanese film student, Song (Fang Song), is hired to help care for Simon, a unique extended family is formed - utterly dependent on each other yet lost in separate dreams mirrored by a delicate, shiny red balloon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, Subtle Film - Time Well Spent December 17, 2008
Oh did I ever enjoy this film. It was a wonderful slow time with several characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. I write slow on purpose, to set the viewer's expectations. This film moves along at a rythm that is very particular, very deliberate, and, to me and my family, perfect. There is a subtlty here that either draws you in deeply, or pushes you far away. I can't see a middle ground with The Flight Of The Red Balloon.

Two adults, a 12 and 17 year old agree that this is a wonderful engrossing film.

The most important point about Flight is the film production. I'm certain most reviewers have missed the fact that cut to cut time averages well over 3 minutes, maybe more like 5 to 10. The shots are very long, and a lot of character development and story progress happens in each long take. Compare that to the average film shots are rarely more than 10 seconds, and long is 20 seconds. Anyone that has seen this film once, should watch the film again and pay attention to when cuts are made in the film. It's incredible the choreography that had to take place for this to work.

I felt like this was two hours spent with some wonderful people, a boy, his mother, a nanny, a neighbor, and a host of minor characters. People float in and out of this movie just as they do in real life. The story isn't resolved, just like in real life. But the path these characters follow is interesting and pleasing.

The connection with the fabulous movie Red Balloon, it's a bit tenuous. There's homage in here, that's critical to understand. It's homage in the film sense, a director does things in a similar way or uses cues that make us think of the other film. The single most important homage to me, shot length and rythm of the original Red Balloon.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinema Verite, Sort Of July 22, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is French cinema verite, only with Juliette Binoche, who is obviously a star and not an ordinary person / non-actor as would be the case in a film true to the original genre... except in this film she seems quite like an ordinary person. I agree that the wandering red balloon appeared somewhat randomly and made no connection to the characters at times. I found this mildly, persistently frustrating when it happened, but I also kind of liked it. After all, things in real life often don't seem to connect or intersect. The performances are all amazing, it's generally in real time; the lighting is magical, with leaf-light patterns transporting me back to childhood every so often. The piano music throughout is lovely, playful, and transporting. This is an unusual, beautiful film. I think it's best to watch when you are alert and relaxed, and willing to participate a bit in making the story meaningful. A unique and wonderful thing about this film is that you feel as if you are participating, at different points.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien ventures away from his homeland for this homage to the classic French short film "Red Balloon." "Flight of the Red Balloon" is a simple and observant (quite literally) story set in Paris that follows the rather ordinary lives of its characters. While the original film played up the central relationship between a balloon and a boy in a rather poetic fashion, this film expands liberally on that narrative. After a sweet set-up in which our lead character is fascinated by our titular balloon (or is it the other way around?), our floating friend is only seen sporadically for the rest of the film--more of a metaphorical participant in the proceedings as opposed to a central plot point. And herein lies either the beauty of the film or the problem depending on who you ask.

I suspect that "Flight of the Red Balloon" is one of those art house films that will brook no middle ground. Some will think it is a lovely contemplation of Parisian life--a snapshot, if you will, of life being lived. Or you might just be baffled by how mundane the story is. There is no grand drama here, no revelatory experiences that will linger in your head--only slice-of-life moments captured from afar. Most of the film is seen in stagnant long shots captured from a distance. In many ways, this establishes an ephemeral and dreamlike quality--a voyeuristic perspective that becomes transitory based on where the action is being viewed at any particular moment. The point of view presents camera shots in which the metaphorical balloon (or other outside entity) is peering into ordinary family life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting For October 25, 2009
Yesterday evening this film came on the television, late.
Somehow it brought the feeling of "day" into my evening spaces and lightened fatigue, caught me with the French, and I watched.
I loved "The Red Balloon" and used to show it to students in 1st grade, my daughter in kinder saw it- and always stated it terrified her. So there was enough just in that to make me interested in an homage.
For the most part you follow a beautiful child, into his day,he's very independent, learning of his new child care taker, seeing his small apartment, the life of his mother. She voices puppets. His Maman is so beautiful, sensual, high strung a bit, struggling. His father it appears eventually has left her and she has someone living in the apartment down stairs from something he allowed-not paying- that she's got to deal with and apparently evict. And that's causing her to struggle. She's in her own world-has her share of pain, the child has his, the care taker serves as an observer. It's a kind of movie moving like the balloon did in the other -through their existence. You know what I always recall of the Red Balloon? The teasing playfulness, how it would come in and take you, float you, so I think the child in this movie, the characters, tend to come in and rather float you. It moves through music, it made me wistful this score. There wasn't the humor though, and I noticed that.

I doubt I'm capable of revealing this movie. There are very long shots of the characters just living, mostly in an apartment but escaping at times to the street, the actress Binoche reminded me of a friend Norma and her relationship as I knew it with her two children. Almost entirely I felt an observer of their life-as this is-noticing as I did here-being engaged.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Single parenthood and post-modern narrative construction
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien is a critically acclaimed auteur whose work is maddeningly unavailable on DVD. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Film Buff
1.0 out of 5 stars Dupped
If this is a tribute to Paris, then it is an insult to Paris. Do not waste your money.
Published 24 days ago by Martha L. Guevara
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as expected
Just plain boring. Contrary to the stated, little of the beauty of Paris is seen. Avoid this film.
Published 25 days ago by Adam Heller
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the original
I was disappointed that this was not the original Red Balloon. The story was weak. I do not want to write more.
Published 3 months ago by Ruth Dixon
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a director's homage, not really anything to do with TRB
I loved the 1956 classic, but this movie really does not have much to do with it. Sufficiently interesting as a French movie, but did not see much connection to original.
Published 9 months ago by Madame O
5.0 out of 5 stars Flight of the Red Balloon
Juliette Binoche and the whole ensemble are great.
This is a favorite film, full of heart and beauty.
And no explosions, car chases, etc. b.s.
Published on April 28, 2012 by Richard Wendell Brinton
4.0 out of 5 stars A Languid And Contemplative Examination Of Ordinary Life--An Homage To...
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien ventures away from his homeland for this homage to the classic French short film "Red Balloon. Read more
Published on July 7, 2011 by K. Harris
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Boring Boring And More Boring
Can a movie be this dull boring and still be hailed as a masterpiece by some? Wow. Yes it can. This was one of the most irritating movies I have ever seen. Nothing happens. Read more
Published on May 31, 2011 by D. Boss
5.0 out of 5 stars A Voyage of Innocence, Poetry, and Cinematic Mastery

Hou Hsiao-hsien may be the most fearless, sophisticated, and brilliant filmmaker of the last 30 years. Read more
Published on June 7, 2010 by Suzanne
1.0 out of 5 stars Boresville
This is not a remake of the original 1954 french classic. This is an arthouse inspired borefest that I truely wanted to love. Read more
Published on April 1, 2009 by Timothy meunier
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