The Red Balloon


A boy and a magic balloon are chased by bullies through the streets of Paris.

The Red Balloon is a 34-minute, mainly wordless, and instantly memorable film that follows a boy and his magical red balloon on a journey through the streets of Paris to his school and back. The boy protects the balloon from a group of boys who want to destroy it on his way to school, then adults get angry at the boy for bringing the balloon to school. After school, the mean boys return for the boy and his balloon and chase him all the way home.

At it’s core, this is a film about the big experiences and feelings of childhood: of being bullied, living in an adult world, experiencing discovery and loss. The story evokes the complexity of childhood and the magical reality kids sometimes create in the face of sadness and danger. Show this quiet contemplative film to your kids early before they become accustomed to the rapid-fire rhythms of modern children’s fare. Be prepared to watch it over and over again.