Flight of the Red Balloon

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Flight of the Red Balloon
©BAC Films 2007
Directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Produced by Kristina Larsen
François Margolin
Written by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
François Margolin
Starring Juliette Binoche
Hippolyte Girardot
Cinematography Pin Bing Lee
Edited by Jean-Christophe Hym
Ching-Song Liao
Release dates
  • May 17, 2007 (2007-05-17) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • January 30, 2008 (2008-01-30) (France)
Running time
115 minutes
Country France
Language French

Flight of the Red Balloon (French: Le voyage du ballon rouge) is a 2007 French-Taiwanese film directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien. It is the first part in a new series of films produced by Musée d'Orsay, and tells the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film was shot in August and September 2006 on location in Paris. This is Hou Hsiao-Hsien's first non-Asian film. It references the classic 1956 French short The Red Balloon directed by Albert Lamorisse.

The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007.[1]


Suzanne, a puppeteer, lives with her young son Simon in an apartment in Paris. While her daughter Louise is away in Brussels and she is worried over a financial battle with her tenant, Marc, Suzanne hires a Chinese filmmaker named Song as Simon's new nanny.

Critical reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reported that 80% of 86 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it got a rating average of 6.9 out of 10.[2]

J. Hoberman, writing in The Village Voice was particularly appreciative of the film stating, "Flight of the Red Balloon is contemplative but never static, and punctuated by passages of pure cinema".[3]

Hong Kong film critic Perry Lam, however, wrote a largely negative review in Muse Magazine: "You get the sense that the director hasn't really made up his mind about what kind of movie he wants Red Balloon to be. His style seems to embrace naturalism, while his thematic concern disavows it."[4]

Top ten lists[edit]

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008.[5]


The film won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2007 Valladolid International Film Festival.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Le voyage du ballon rouge". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2011-08-24. 
  2. ^ "Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge (The Flight of the Red Balloon) (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-04-01/film/floating-life/
  4. ^ Lam, Perry (December 2007). "Far away, too close". Muse Magazine (11): 100. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 

External links[edit]