Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (The Flight of the Red Balloon) Reviews
Life is set in Paris and it is portrayed as both beautiful and chaotic. You're led through the wear and tear of a single mother's life with her son - including the joy and the mundane - and her attempts to balance work with the stresses of a crappy neighbour - who is also her tenant - and supporting her new employee, Song, who's just been hired as a Nanny to the young boy.
Binoche is just wonderful and supporting actors (non-actors I assume) work well with what seems to be a largely improvised script.
Like in "Three Times" (unfourtanely I´m just beginning to know Hsiao-hsien Hou´s work), we see a poetically filmed slice of common life.
Albert Lamorisse ´s "The Red Balloon" is brought into the movie by the film student baby-sitter Song who films a short film about red balloons. I´m pretty sure that the first scenes where we see Simon talking to the balloon and later, alone in the metro, hiding himself from it are part of Song´s film. In "The Red Balloon" Pascal takes the bus and goes alone to school, but here we clear see that Simon never stays by himself. Also, Simon is a boy of "modern times" who likes video game and stuffs alike. When he is with the other school kids at the Musee d'Orsay (to look at the Félix Vallotton's painting "Le Ballon") and suddenly turns his head up and see the red balloon seems to be the first time he really sees the balloon (and not a "fake" one of Song´s film).
I don´t know if the boy who plays Simon is a real actor, but he talks and acts so naturally that I tend to think he is not. Speaking about acting, Juliette Binoche is simply great. With a not usual character type to her, Binoche plays Suzanne (kinda mix of her previous characters in "Jet Lag" and "Code Unkown") amazingly joyful.
BellÃsima, profunda, muy comun en Hsiao-hsien Hou donde cada escena es un mundo de detalles. Para algunos puede parecer lenta, esta claro que no es una pelicula disfrutable por todos, pero aquellos que gusten del buen cine frances, tipicamente pausado, detallista en extremo y abrumadoramente lleno de dialogos, esta es una gran opcion que no pueden dejar pasar.