|Kukla, Fran, and Ollie|
Of all of the movies that appeared on the series, my favorite was always The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge). Perhaps that's because it was also shown on other telecasts and in my school and I just saw it more. Perhaps it's because it was so cinematically different. Or perhaps it was Paris that stayed in my mind.
|The Red Balloon, 1956|
The Red Balloon is the story of Pascal who finds, one day on his way to school, an enormous red balloon. This is no ordinary balloon - this balloon seems almost human and patiently waits for Pascal while he's in school, plays keep away, and even torments the teacher who punishes Pascal for having the balloon. When the balloon is destroyed by a group of boys who have been chasing Pascal all over the city, poor Pascal is left standing alone in field, sad to lose his friend. Then, all over the city, balloons begin floating away toward Pascale in the field. When he grabs them into his hands, he is lifted up and the movie closes with Pascale floating away over Paris.
The part of Paris that the movie is shot in no longer exists - it had fallen into decay and was torn down by the government in the 1960's. Already in 1956 when the movie was made, the decay is obvious but plays a part in bringing a depth to a story that seems so simple on the surface. Pascale's and the balloon's friendship and love are destroyed by a cruel mob but Pascale's goodness is rewarded in the end. Definite religious overtones I never noticed when I watched the movie as a child.
On an altogether lighter tone, here are some other things I noticed about the movie watching it as an adult:
Pascale's clothes are every bit as odd as I remember them being, very European.
There's a scene in a flea market that practically made me drool. Can you imagine the great things you might have found in a Paris flea market in 1956?
Why would so many boys be so eager to get their hands on that balloon only to destroy it? Oh yeah, back to the deeper meaning of the film. But still, why didn't I think that was really strange as a child? Even then it must not have struck me as odd that people could be that mean.