Flight of the Red Balloon (PG)
Friday 14 March 2008
Commissioned by the president of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, this small, inconsequential drama stars Juliette Binoche as a Parisian single mother caught between her career as a stage puppeteer and the care of her young son (Simon Iteanu) and his new nanny (Song Fang).
The director Hou Hsiao-Hsien uses his camera in a leisurely, not to say ponderous, manner, alighting on a scene and simply staring at it for minutes at a time. And sometimes not even a scene: long stretches of the film focus on the mysterious tomato-red balloon that shadows the son around the city streets. For a film that's almost two hours long, it needs a more dramatic crux than Binoche's angry phone calls to her ex-husband in Montreal.
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