Flight of the Red Balloon (Le voyage du ballon rouge)

Part of Also like Life: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien
Sunday, September 28, 2014, 4:30 p.m.

Dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien. 2007, 115 mins. 35mm. With Juliette Binoche, Simon Iteanu, Song Fang. Hou's Paris-set tribute to Albert Lamorisse's 1956 kid’s classic The Red Balloon concerns seven-year-old Simon and his life with mother Suzanne, a performance artist, as they are seen through the eyes of a Chinese student hired as Simon's nanny. Song Fang, an actual film student, is essentially playing herself, and the free improvisations give the proceedings a winning air of play, appropriate to a movie that features a sentient balloon as Simon’s benevolent companion. "In its unexpected rhythms and visual surprises, its structural innovations and experimental perfs, its creative misunderstandings and its outré syntheses, this is a movie of genius."—J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

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