I am rather embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of The Red Balloon until last year when it was suggested to me by my Netflix account. Their computer thought I would enjoy it based on other films I had already rented. So I put it in my queue and last week it arrived in my mailbox. We watched it Saturday night. Yep, 1950s foreign language films is how we roll on weekend nights at our house.
From Netflix, "In The Red Balloon, a boy spends a magical afternoon chasing a red balloon across Paris. Albert Lamorisse
directed this charming story and cast his 6-year-old son Pascal in the
lead role, creating a memorable fable about friendship and loss..."
This 34 minute film is essentially dialog free yet, curiously, Lamorisse won the best Screenplay Oscar for it in 1956.
I mentioned it to a few people this week and found out that I am the only person I know who didn't see it (or doesn't remember it) as a child. Donna was eight, she said, and I think she enjoyed it as much the second time as I did seeing it for the first. Whimsical, magical, charming, with an ending that I certainly didn't see coming. If you have young children I recommend it highly.
On the same DVD was another of the director's acclaimed films, the 47 minute White Mane, also new to me. This gorgeous black and white movie from 1953 is the story of a boy trying to tame a wild horse in the marshes of Camargue in southwest France.
I would not recommend this to the very young as a fight between two horses is quite violent and difficult to watch. Otherwise, it is a beautiful movie with another remarkable and unexpected ending. Oui oui s'il vous plaît!!
So what little gems do you love? What unheralded movies for children would you recommend to the other readers?