Flight of the Red Balloon 2008 NR

Amazon Instant Video

(18) IMDb 6.6/10

A boy is followed by a mysterious balloon around Paris, a city that has never looked so beautiful as when shot by the world's most lauded director, Hou Hsiao Hsien.

Juliette Binoche, Simon Iteanu
1 hour 56 minutes

Flight of the Red Balloon

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International, Kids & Family
Director Hsiao-hsien Hou
Starring Juliette Binoche, Simon Iteanu
Supporting actors Simon Iteanu, Fang Song, Louise Margolin, Anna Sigalevitch, Charles-Edouard Renault, Damien Maestraggi
Studio Margo Films
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

I watched the whole thing thinking that it would get better or something would be explained.
D. Boss
"The Flight of the Red Balloon" is also set in Paris and it DOES feature a balloon and a boy - but that's about as far as the comparisons go between the two movies.
Roland E. Zwick
Hsiao-hsien Hou's latest film is a collection of beautifully shot scenes, homage that is occasionally charming but too whimsical.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Lebryk TOP 50 REVIEWER on December 17, 2008
Format: DVD
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 By ELF on 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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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 By a gentle sound on October 25, 2009
Format: DVD
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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