• David Irvine

Take Time for a Short Film: The Red Balloon

by David Irvine, Director of Choral Music


I remember a terrific little book my parents gave me when I was a child called “The Red Balloon.” The book was from a short subject movie of the same name. As a child, I was enchanted by the story of the young boy and his balloon friend. In revisiting this film just the other day, I was struck by its message of hope and light. I would recommend watching it, perhaps as a family, and then having a family sharing time.

For a little help with your family discussion, you might want to know what one theologian said about the film: “The cluster balloon ride in the closing scene could also be said to represent a religious or spiritual analogy. For example, when the balloon is destroyed, its "spirit" lives on as it is transferred to all the other balloons in the city, which is said to be a metaphor for Christ. Themes of self-realization and loneliness are also present in the film. The theme of innocence is persistent and is one of the main focuses of the film. Through a child's gaze, a cynical world is transformed into an almost magical one, highlighting the power of the innocence and imagination of children.”

Here’s some practical background about the film. “The Red Balloon” won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1956. It is the only short subject film to ever have won this particular award. The little boy in the movie is the director’s son and was shot in an area of Paris badly damaged by the bombing during World War II. It runs 34 minutes and has subtitles.


Click here to watch The Red Balloon.

I hope that you enjoy this captivating little movie!

David Irvine

Director of Choral Music

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