What a special film this is. As Hou Hsao-hsien's first non-Asian film, it still packs in the incredible cinematic references to classic cinema of the past - most obviously Albert Lamorisse's 1956 short The Red Balloon. Hsao-hsien is a master of homage as he has celebrated film and demonstrated his love and knowledge of the medium in his other work such as Café Lumière and even Taipei Story in which he acted.
Le ballon rouge, vu comme le spectateur s'intéressant à une tranche de vie, nous emmène voir ce triptyque touchant et contrastant. La force tranquille de Song, mêlée à l'innocence et la vérité de Simon et la névrose de Susanne, font ressortir une grande pudeur et tolérance à l'égard du monde humain. De beaux instants, une caméra humble, un jeu naturel, ce voyage mérite grandement d'être vécu !
There seems to be 3 films in here: The sequel to the red balloon, the story of a single mother and the story of an outsider in a new society. HHH's style works great with the last two and gives Juliette Binoche some great moments (the scene in the car when she's on the phone was breathtakingly acted). However, it doesn't quite fit the fantasy element that made the short film as wonderful. Still, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
John Keats says: "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness."the red balloon can be a thing of beauty twisting the imagination of those people who are keen to perceive this beauty, to cease a moment to be redeemed of the agonies of everyday life.Juxtaposition of this object of beauty along with the monotonous life is pictured in this movie utterly beautifully.
I'm surprised to hear Juliette Binoche actually agreed to work with HHH before the production. You can see HHH's relationship with the Taiwanese puppet theatre. And casted the master of puppet theatre in many of his previous film. Go check it out, it's worth your time.