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The Flight Of The Red Balloon review

The domestic hiccups of puppeteer Juliette Binoche and the non-adventures of her son and his Taiwanese nanny as they wander Paris might not seem the stuff of filmic enchantment. But, while nothing really happens in the leisurely French debut of lauded filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien, it doesn’t happen in the most beguiling of ways. Sporadically interrupted by the titular inflatable wafting mysteriously into shot, Hou’s tribute to director Albert Lamorisse’s 1956 short The Red Balloon could have been a twee irritation. But Hsiao-Hsien has such a calm, compassionate eye that even the everyday goings-on in Binoche’s boho apartment – her presumptuous neighbour inviting himself in to commandeer her oven; a workman tuning her piano while Binoche audibly throws a wobbly on the staircase – feel touched by magic.

 

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