Friday, November 1, 2013

The Red Balloon

I recently learned that The Red Balloon, a photographic picture book I spent a whole lot of time looking at as a child, was actually published as a tie-in to a short, Oscar-winning movie from the 1950s. (This will not be news to many. Somehow I missed it.)

from the nearly-silent film by Albert Lamorisse

The book is a collection of stills from the movie. It also includes words, but I have no recollection of them from childhood, because the photographs did everything. To me, this book was beautiful, and a deeply emotional reading experience.

I won't tell you the story if you don't know it - it won't sound as good as it is. It's about trust, and love, and loss. If you have recently suffered the loss of a pet, this probably isn't the time to read it.

I just watched the movie, and loved it for many reasons. But I can't say that, had I seen it as a child, it would have meant more to me than the book did. The necessary jumps from picture to picture were full of feeling for me - my own feelings, because that's all I had to fill those spaces.


Steven Cain said...

I never knew there was a book! Loved the movie. Haven't seen it in ages. Need to revisit.

Claire M. Caterer said...

Oh my, what memories! THE RED BALLOON. My elementary school had a "movie day" every year on the last day or two of school. Almost every year, THE RED BALLOON was one of the offerings, and it was my favorite. So melancholy, yet so beautiful. It was years before I realized it was set in Paris, a city I came to love as a teen and adult. Thanks for sharing and bringing back the memories. (By the way, it was only recently that I found out it was a book, too.)

Tam said...

I LOVED the movie as a child. It was shown every year at my elementary school. So beautiful and sad. As an adult I bought the book for my kids. They never loved it like I did, even the movie, but I still have a warm feeling for it.