The master of Taiwanese cinema, who built up his admirable oeuvre with his specific view of local conditions and his outspoken use of the local language, took a very daring step with this film. He made a film in France, spoken entirely in French (a language he cannot speak himself) and inspired by a classic French film, namely Le Ballon Rouge (1956) by Albert Lamorisse. The master managed surprisingly well during his foreign adventure. The film resulted from a commission from the Museum d'Orsay in Paris. The idea was to provide a picture of Paris as an outsider.
The film follows a huge fairytale balloon but also the life of the theatre maker Suzanne, her little son Simon and his new babysitter Song Fang. Suzanne is played by the famous Juliette Binoche, who provides a convincing and humorous performance as a hectic, chaotic, occasionally hysterical, but above all warm woman. Despite the fairytale balloon, the atmosphere is very realistic and modelled on present-day Paris life. Hou created a kind of familiar family on the set. For instance Simon is played by the eight-year-old son of his French press agent and in the film he receives piano lessons from his real piano teacher. This familiarity is translated in the film an almost documentary picture of everyday life. This is especially unusual because the director worked in a strange country in a language that was also strange to him. (GjZ)


International title
The Flight of the Red Balloon
Filmmaker
Hou Hsiao-hsien
Country
Taiwan, France
Year
2007
Medium
35mm
Length
113’
Language
French
Producer
François Margolin, Kristina Larsen
Production Company
Margo Cinema, Les Films du Lendemain, 3H Productions Limited
Sales
Playtime
Writer
Hou Hsiao-hsien, François Margolin
Cinematography
Mark Lee Ping Bing
Editor
Liao Ching-sung, Jean-Christophe Hym
Production Design
Paul Fayard
Sound Design
Chu Shih Yi, Jean-Daniel Beccache
Music
Camille Constance Lee
Cast
Simon Iteanu, Hippolyte Girardot, Juliette Binoche, Song Fang