Simon is a young boy who is drifting through life when he meets a woman named Song, who wants to create an homage to the classic film The Red Balloon.
The original short film The Red Balloon was a masterpiece of storytelling. With limited dialogue and a simple red balloon leading the way, Albert Lamorisse created a film that is so beautiful that it is still shown today in elementary schools. The film follows a young boy and his red balloon, which seemingly understands and follows him like a pet. The movie ends with everyone wanting the balloon and choosing to destroy it rather than allowing one person to have control. The movie then ends on a high note as all the balloons in town desert their owners to lift this young boy into the clouds.
Flight of the Red Balloon is not a remake of this classic French film, but an homage to the beauty of the movie. Just as with the original, the story revolves around a young boy named Simon who is out of place in his own world, his father absent in Canada, writing a novel that will never be finished and a mother who is bohemian, absent minded and annoyed by everything except for her son, who brings the only smiles to her face. Simon is taken under the wing of a Taiwanese film student named Song, who decides to recreate The Red Balloon with Simon as the star.
The movie led many critic’s top ten lists for 2008, thanks in large part to the love director Hou Hsiao Hsien has for the original film. His movie saunters by with the security his film will let viewers discover this great world through their own eyes. He is not interested in making a typical drama but instead creating an atmosphere, with a mesmerizing music score, that reminds you of the melancholy beauty of the original film that influenced it. By the end of the movie you realize that you have seen something extraordinary. Hou Hsiao Hsien created a movie that is a perfect companion to a true masterpiece.