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Movie Review: Flight of the Red Balloon

Alternate Title: There is No Air, There

Story: Call me finicky, but I like films that include a script. This film by Chinese writer and director Hou Hsiao-hsien was inspired by the 1956 Oscar winning Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse. Sadly, inspiration did not include a story. The similarities end with a red balloon, a little boy and the streets of Paris.

The good news is that Paris always is beautiful. The bad news is - everything else. This is one of those artsy films that lures you in and you wait and wait for something to happen. About half way through you realize nothing is going to happen and deflate sets in.

Director Hsiao-hsien apparently explained the character's history fully to the actor and preceded to let the camera run. I wish he would have let us in on the secrets as well. Sigh!

So - if you like to watch pretty people living their lives on the streets of Paris, go for it. Everyone should stay home and live your own life.

Acting: Juliette Binoche is one of my favorite actresses. She is the shining light in this film does not disappoint. Every time she entered a scene I was hopeful that the story would kick into gear. It never did - but she saved the film from going into the negative Lobo Howls rating scale. Simon Iteanu as the little boy is cute. But most little boys are cute. So what? Song Fang as the Chinese nanny looked as confused as we were. Everyone else in the cast were just good looking French people including, Hippolyte Girardot, Louise Margolin and Anna Sigalevitch.

Predilection: This film was well received by many critics and I fell for the bullshit.

Critters: Surprisingly none.

Food: Ah the food. There were many baguettes and a snack of crepes.

Sex Spectrum: No sex - which is odd for a french film.

Blatant Product Placement: Apple

Soundtrack: I cannot recall a note.

Opening Titles: White type over a black background.

Visual Art: The film is shot in cramped French apartments rich in detail.

Theater Audience: Five other dulled movie attendees at the IFC Waverly theater.

Weather: The weather was excellent in Paris.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: Lots and lots of drifting - just like the red balloon in the film.

Predictability Level: Who cared?

Tissue Usage: I cried at the waste of time.

Oscar Worthy: NO

Big Screen or Rental: Neither

Length: Too long at under two hours.