THE REVENGE OF THE RED BALLOON Image

Call this film “Red Balloon, The Next Generation.” Popped by a group of French rugrats some forty years earlier and now armed with a prehensile string capable of wreaking lethal mischief — choking, tripping, squeezing poisoned cheez-whiz, etc. — the titular balloon is back to exact revenge on his killers, who are now all adults. A standard warning given to new filmmakers, often spoken by someone who’s learned this grim lesson the hard way, is never work with kids or animals. I’ve never heard anyone mention balloons, which is surprising given that they combine the fragility of youths with the unpredictable qualities of animals — or bad method actors. Although balloons would seem to embody the worst of both worlds, the fiendishly resourceful balloon star of Gregg Rosen’s “Revenge of the Red Balloon” is a damned fine actor. As a result, this tongue-in-cheek tribute to French films is a damned fine movie.

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