Somewhat of an homage to the children's classic, The Red Balloon, but those expecting anything like that film will be disappointed in this one. Yes, there is a cute French boy. And yes, there is a red balloon. But other than that, this film is only ostensibly connected to the 1956 film. It reminded me a bit of the 2002 film What Time is It There, another Taiwanese film with a main character way into a 1950's French film. In that movie, the object of the obsession was the Truffaut film The 400 Blows.
Both SHR and I enjoyed this more than we thought we would. We both liked it a lot more than the previous Hou Hsiao-Hsien film we had seen, Three Times. Not much happens but it all looks great. The film is about a boy, Simon, and his hyper mom played by Juliette Binoche, who is more caught up in her day-to-day neuroses to pay that much attention to her son. So that duty falls to his new babysitter, Song, a Chinese film student who is enamored with The Red Balloon, and filming Simon like he's in the film. And oh yeah, there's a red balloon that follows them around.
The film was interesting enough without the added drama of the balloon following them around. At times, the balloon aspect seemed almost a bit like overkill. But overall, I did like this movie a lot. I keep meaning to see some of his other films that are supposed to be great - especially Millennium Mambo.
Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
2007, U.S. Release: 2008
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