Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The Flight of the Red Balloon (IFC Films)
If memory serves me right, Flight of the Red Balloon (opening May 9 at Landmark's is only the second film by acclaimed Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsaio-Hsien to receive a theatrical release here in San Diego, and the first to open in a Landmark Theater. The now defunct Madstone Theaters played Hou's Millennium Mambo , and the late Ruth Bailey screened his works when she ran the San Diego International Film Festival at UCSD. The San Diego Asian Film Festival has also played his Flowers of Shanghai and Three Times . While the opening of Flight of the Red Balloon is cause for celebration, it's just a shame that the Hou film to receive the best release here in San Diego is not one of his masterworks. But any Hou film is worth seeing if you truly love cinema.
May 23, 2008 at 07:29 AM
A great review, Beth. What a beautifully crafted movie. I really love the reflections shots that's so much part of Hsien's movies (I noticed them first in Millennium Mambo). In this case, the life that's happening or passing by as the characters are living their lives. The sounds are characters in his movies althought there is more music in this one than I remember in his other movies. Do you notice that Hsien is very much attracted to trains? Lots of trains in his movies. People are always going somewhere, I guess, whether the main characters or just the population around them. I like this much more than the recent Three Times which I thought was good but, other than the first story, a rehash. This one I almost like it as much as Cafe Lumiere which I completely adore. This one made up for the disappointment I had with WKW's My Blueberry Nights. So much so, I saw it twice.
May 27, 2008 at 06:49 PM
Max, Thanks again for your comments. I love your description about the life that's passing by. I'm impressed that you went to the film twice. I wish more people would experiment once with a Hou Hsiao Hsien film. Thanks again (and sorry for the delay in replying we had some web issues).
May 28, 2008 at 07:49 PM
I like this too: http://www.atomfilms.com/film/revenge_red_balloon.jsp