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Le Voyage du ballon rouge (Flight of the Red Balloon)

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Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien
Year: 2007

Hou's elliptical cinema has a tendency to shy away from simple audience-pleasing pathos in favour of more subtle and enigmatic effects, which continue to play out in the viewer's mind beyond the end of the film. Certainly his films have a stillness to them which requires further consideration, and most of his films greatly reward repeat viewings.

Flight of the Red Balloon finds the director working now in France with established talents such as Juliette Binoche, but the heart of the film is with her son and his Chinese film-student nanny. The film itself is a homage to Albert Lamorrisse's 1955 short The Red Balloon and there are frequent interludes following the titular red ballon as its bounces across the Parisian landscape.

The joys are in the characterisations, and the observance of quotidian life, as the film moves by with all the levity and seeming formlessness its title suggests.
Tags: ,
Cinema's Location:
London WC2H 7LP
Rating (out of 5):
contemplative ****
Odeon (West End)
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