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Origami, Wonder, and The Spirit of a Child

A child holds a bright red balloon against a grey wall plastered with colorful advertising posters.

In the precious innocence of childhood, we experience wonder and joy in the simplest things. As we age we may lose this connection and are fortunate if we can find our way back again to this special place.

The Red Balloon is a short film and portrait of childhood spontaneity, joy, and play. It is a little gem, written, produced, and directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, in 1956. In his film, Lamorisse shares the tale of a unique relationship between a child and a balloon where wonderful things happen.

Here is the story.

Pascal is a young Parisian boy who, on his way to school, sees a large Red Balloon with its tangled line caught on a fence. Pascal frees the balloon and they become friends. The balloon follows Pascal everywhere. It follows him to school and then home again, through busy city streets filled with trams, trucks, and stern grownups. Wherever Pascal goes, the balloon is hovering somewhere near.

It’s a curious sight, Pascal, and his floating friend, the Red Balloon. Everyone notices, including many quite envious children. The only one that understands Pascal’s special friendship is Sabine. Sabine has a Blue Balloon that is as close to her as Pascal’s Red Balloon is to him.

One Sunday morning, when Pascal and his mother are on their way to church, the Red Balloon escapes from their apartment through an open window and follows Pascal right into the church. Pascal and his Red Balloon are not welcome at all and are quickly ejected back onto the street. And that was that!

As Pascal and his balloon wander the neighborhood, a gang of mean boys chase them through cobbled side streets and narrow alleys. The ending is not a happy one for Pascal’s Red Balloon. But then something very special happens. We enter the film at the point of the balloon’s defeat and watch to the end with its joyous and uplifting conclusion.

After watching the excerpt below, fold a model that comes to mind, inspired by this tale, and share it on the Origamisprit Fan Page along with any additional comments.

Include the hashtag: #theRedBalloon so we can find your model.


In accordance with US Copyright Law, this film excerpt is shared as Fair Use content.

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