Film Club
Screening Dates
  • April 21 (Sunday) 10:30

I wept and wept at the end of The Red Balloon … It’s the greatest short ever made. It’s just fabulous. So glorious!”

Terence Davies, director (The Long Day Closes)

The Red Balloon
(Le ballon rouge)
France 1956
Albert Lamorisse
34 min. Blu-ray

One of the most beloved children’s films of all time, Albert Lamorisse’s nearly wordless urban adventure about a Parisian boy and a very special balloon has enchanted generations of audiences. Even if you haven’t seen this film in full before, you’ve surely caught its influence in the work of scores of filmmakers, from Steven Spielberg to the team behind Winnie the Pooh (2011)—and, one could argue, on the entire house style for Pixar’s short films. For Studio Ghibli co-founders Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao, inspiration came through its example of a grounded yet dreamlike world. The magic that Lamorisse allows us to see in The Red Balloon is a continuous flow of concrete time and space: the boy walks, the balloon follows, the camera follows.

In French with English subtitles

preceded by

White Mane
Crin-blanc, cheval sauvage
France 1953
Albert Lamorisse
40 min. Blu-ray

Albert Lamorisse’s Prix Jean Vigo-winning mid-length is, next to The Black Stallion, the closest thing to equine transcendence in the cinema. The English narration, originally adapted by film critic and novelist James Agee, is read by actor Peter Strauss.

English narration version

One of the most beautiful films ever made … [Lamorisse’s] intentions were clearly to achieve a piece of visual poetry—unlike most filmmakers who head that way he succeeded.”

Pauline Kael, The New Yorker, on White Mane

The Red Balloon and White Mane screen from Criterion’s 2023 Blu-ray release, sourced from new digital restorations.

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