The Red Balloon–review 2003

                                                                        Red Balloon                           


`The subject of the film is the trust and respect totaling the friendship between the boy and the red balloon.  The theme of the film is that however new and unexpected, a strong bond can be created quickly and meaningfully with lasting effects.  The character of the boy is at first simple and pleasant, the first impression we get of him is a love for all things.  He stops to pet a cat on the way to school and seems very content with his position in life.  Encountering a friend that is interested in a mutually enjoyable relationship excites the boy even more.  This newfound delight transforms into protectiveness of something special as the boy’s dramatic becomes closer and more attached to the balloon.  The balloon’s character is more of a static character because it attaches itself quickly and profoundly to the boy and the protection by the boy becomes a reciprocal relationship. The balloon also has its playful side. The game of hide and seek the two play on the way to school is a great example of this.  The main conflict of the story is the adversarial relationship between the two friends and the group of schoolboys whose jealousy increases as the friendship between the balloon and the boy becomes stronger.  The crisis in the film is when the schoolboys steal the balloon and tie it up, leading to a chase where the balloon is freed by the boy.

            The boy is walking calmly to school, stops to pet a cat and walks down the stairs.  Going down the stairs, the boy looks up and sees something of interest on the top of a lamppost.  He climbs the lamppost and frees a red balloon that was stuck.  The boy descends the pole and continues to a fruit stand and bus stop where the balloon attracts attention.  This attention leads to a bus driver refusing entrance for the balloon. The boy then runs to school because the bus has left without him.  Arriving at the school late, the door is locked and he must ring the buzzer for entrance. The boy brings the balloon into school, gives it to a teacher while the headmaster glares at him from a window.  Coming out of school, as it is raining, the boy seeks shelter for his balloon under various people’s umbrellas.  The boy runs home and there is a shot of the mother looking disapprovingly at the balloon.  The mother then lets the balloon out the window, only for it to return when the boy comes to the window.  In the morning the balloon is released out the window by the boy and meets him downstairs.  The balloon and the boy plays games on the way to school, adding another layer to their growing closeness.  When they arrive at the bus stop this time the boy gets on and the balloon follows the bus to school.  At this point it becomes evident that the balloon does not want to be held all the time. This is more like the relationship between friends than that of a master- pet relationship.  The balloon climbs over the wall and is a great distraction to the schoolchildren. Because of this the boy is locked in the headmaster’s office and the balloon is unhappy along with the boy.  The balloon responds by tormenting the headmaster as he walks down the Street.  The upset headmaster then lets out the boy.  Passing through a bazaar on the way home the boy looks mainly at a picture of a little girl and the balloon looks at mirrors.  Following from this, the boy and the red balloon cross paths with a girl and her blue balloon. The two balloons try to get close to each other.  The other schoolboys set up an ambush but the pair manage to escape while the schoolboys call “sallope!’ after them.  The schoolboys capture the balloon and they tie it up.  The boy once again rescues the balloon and a long chase results.  The boy is captured and the balloon is shot with a slingshot and begins to loose air before it is stomped.  Before the balloon dies he calls his balloon buddies to give back to the boy. As a result the boy gets a ride into the sky.


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