Plot: What’s it about?
On the streets of Paris, a young boy (Pascal Lamorisse) happens upon a bright red balloon which has been tied to a lamppost and left there. The boy decides to untie the balloon and in return, the balloon follows the young man around the streets, as if it were a friend or pet. The two soon become quite inseparable and get into all kinds of playful trouble, from visits to various shops to some flirtations with a young girl and her blue balloon. But when the realities of the world around them sets in, what will become of this young boy and his beloved red balloon?
The Red Balloon only runs just over half an hour, but it remains a beloved classic, even after over five decades. A masterful example of how effective the short film format can be, The Red Balloon has a simple concept, but one that is universal and works on multiple levels. A boy and a balloon seems like a basic premise, but it plays out with such skill in The Red Balloon. The short is just so much fun to watch, so alive and like a children’s book come to life. I was pleased to see this released on DVD and at such a low price, The Red Balloon is highly recommended.
Video: How does it look?
The Red Balloon is presented in full frame, as intended. Thanks to a recent restoration, the short looks terrific, though some signs of age remain intact. The print has grain in moderate amounts, but it never becomes a distraction and given the film’s age, some softness was probably unavoidable. The colors stand out however, so that red balloon has never looked so red and the Paris landscape looks bright and colorful.
Audio: How does it sound?
The mono soundtrack is thin, but the short doesn’t rely much on audio elements for the most part. The few instances of dialogue retain the original French and sound fine, if a touch thin. The music is decent, given the age and nature of the short, while general sound effects come off as passable, though never memorable. In short, the audio here is decent and for this short, that turns out to be enough. This disc also includes optional English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a theatrical trailer for a double feature of The Red Balloon and White Mane.