Synopsis: In 1956, Albert Lamorisse made THE RED BALLOON, a short in which a young boy, played by his son, makes friends with a red balloon. Some 50 years later, Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao Hsien has made his first French-language film, the charming and subtle FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON, commissioned by the Musée d'Orsay and inspired by Lamorisse's children's classic. A blonde Juliette Binoche stars as Suzanne, a single mother living in Paris, doing her best to raise her seven-year-old son, Simon (Simon Iteanu), while preparing her latest puppet show, based on the Yuan Dynasty story of Zhang Yu and his beloved, Qiong Lian. Suzanne hires Song (Song Fang), a Taiwanese film student, to come to Paris to take care of Simon. Song goes everywhere with her camera, filming everything she sees. Meanwhile, Simon is being followed by a red balloon that has grown attached to the boy. The balloon, which seems to have its own personality, hovers over the boy and his family as Suzanne struggles with her daily life, fighting with tenants who owe back rent, moving a piano, and getting ready for the puppet show. Hou, the director of such widely acclaimed films as THE PUPPETMASTER, FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI, and CAFE LUMIERE, has created a touching, beautiful film in FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON, which opened the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and was also selected for that year's New York Film Festival. Not only does the balloon serve as a character unto itself but so does the city of Paris as Song and Simon walk through the streets and ride the train. All the dialogue in the film is improvised, shot in long takes by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bing; Hou provided each of the actors with the general scenario and back story and then had them fill in the dialogue and movement themselves, adding a natural authenticity to the film.
Starring: Simon Iteanu, Hippolyte Girardot, Juliette Binoche
Directed by: Hou Hsaio-Hsien