Posted by on Avr 23, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Le Ballon rouge 08’39” © 1956 Films Montsouris

The morning scene in The Red Balloon is illustrated by a baker opening up his shop, a glass salesman advertising his wares and a postman delivering letters. These scenes were all filmed in the rue Piat, Belleville. The postman walks along a walkway (passerelle) at the back of 21 rue Piat, as described in detail in Furore #21, page 51. The walkway was often used by photographers as it offered a good view of Belleville’s picturesque backyards and rooftops, particularly the rue Vilin. The atmosphere is upbeat, pastoral, village-like.

La crise du logement 03’00” © 1956 OKA Films

Jean Dewever’s propaganda film La crise du logement , made that same year, contains a shot taken at almost the same angle. The context here is utterly pessimistic, however: a voice-over informs us that hundreds of thousands of homes in Paris pose a deathly risk to their occupants by their very structure. We’re informed that the “rational reconstruction” of the old Paris necessitates the razing of these health hazards.

View from Rue Piat © 2010 Piet Schreuders

We all know where that led to: an “espace vert”, a nice, airy, green, sterile open space.


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Balloonology 2: The St Raphaël mural

Posted by on Avr 16, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


In Balloonology 1 we discussed Pascal’s walk in the rain with an old man, passing a restaurant. Pascal first meets this old man in another street, distinguished among other things by a mural advertising “St. Raphaël Quinquina”. Where was it?

The Red Balloon 05:12 © Films Montsouris

While looking for the “Chez Hubert” restaurant among old photos of the rue de la Tombe Issoire, I came across this one. It shows 52-57 rue de la T.I., looking south from the intersection of the Avenue du Parc de Montsouris (now called Avenue René Coty).

52-57 rue de la Tombe Issoire (© Pavillon de l’Arsenal)

I didn’t spot it right away, but there it was, in the distance: a St. Raphaël mural.

Detail of previous (© Pavillon de l'Arsenal}

A Google Street View search quickly revealed that the street Pascal and the old man were walking in is indeed the rue de la Tombe Issoire.They were standing in front of nr 71bis; the St Raphaël mural used to be on the side wall of nr 90.

View from 71 rue de la Tombe Issoire © Google Street View

© Piet Schreuders, November 2011

The “St. Raphaël wall today.

Since we learned that Pascal and the old man were filmed in two separate locations in the same area of the 14th Arrondissement, it seemed plausible that the duo’s third location – a parkside café – was not far from here.

Red Balloon book page 9 / Piet Schreuders November 2011

Just such a spot can be found on the corner of Avenue Reille and the rue Nansouty, bordering the Parc Montsouris — just a few blocks from the two previous locations.

25 avenue Reille, 75014 Paris, November 2011

What’s more, this bar-tabac (called Tabac du Parc Montsouris) is located at 25 avenue Reille. The Lamorisse family (and their film company Films Montsouris) occupied the apartment right above.
Compelling circumstantial evidence, I’d say.



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Balloons in Ljubljana

Posted by on Avr 10, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


Petra Slatinšek writes:

So great to read about your latest issue. Congratulations! If it will be available in English, please let me know.
The film inspired our children’s programme in cinema, it’s called Kinobalon and has a red balloon design.
The latest cover of catalogue for schools looks like this.Best regards from Ljubljana, Slovenia and I wish you to keep on doing great stuff!
Petra Slatinšek
Filmska vzgoja in program za otroke in mlade Kinobalon (vodja programa)
Young Audience & Film Education
Javni zavod Kinodvor
Kolodvorska 13
1000 Ljubljana”

Download the complete Kinobalon catalog here.

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Balloonology 1: Chez Hubert

Posted by on Avr 7, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


Ever since I started studying the many Red Balloon locations systematically (2007) I have been intrigued by the location of the restaurant called CHEZ HUBERT. It is one of the places Pascal passes as he tries to protect his balloon from the rain by sticking it under the umbrellas of passers-by.

The Red Balloon 05:28 © Films Montsouris

Detail of dvd image

The film offers us not only the name of the bar, but also its telephone number (GOBelins 11-05), the fact that it was on a street corner, and that the name of the cross street was the rue de la Tombe Issoire. So how hard could it be to find this place? Easy as it might have seemed, it took me no less than four years to pinpoint the exact location.

Rue de la Tombe Issoire © Google Maps

The rue de la Tombe Issoire is rather long. It has 21 cross streets. Which one was it?

In May 2009 I wrote to Dutch essayist Rudy Kousbroek because I knew he had lived in this district in the 1950s. He replied on Mon, 01 Jun 2009 23:50:29:

“About 1954-’55 I lived at 37 rue de la Tombe Issoire… The façade of ‘Chez Hubert’ looks familiar, but my memory offers up nothing specific. That can also be caused by the fact that I was mostly familiar with the street between boulevard St Jacques and the rue d’Alésia. The restaurant may have been on one of those corners, for instance at the rue Rémy Dumoncel, the rue Bezout, the passage Dareau. The phone number, GOBelins 11-05, suggest that district. But the rue de la T.I. extended all the way to the bd Jourdan and I never came that far.

“Also, we never went to restaurants at the time because we were too poor. In any case, you should look under Restaurant Chez Hubert, not under Chez or Hubert. In the 1955 volume of the phone directory, I’d say. In my day old phone directories could be consulted at the Hôtel de Ville. There are also directories arranged by street address. It seems entirely possible that the address was not rue de la T.I., but one of its cross streets.

A needle in a haystack. But even if you find it, what have you gained? You do have my sympathy in any case.”

Rue de la Tombe Issoire opposite nr 37 (where RK lived) Photo © Menno Hartman

On a research trip in January 2010 I visited the rue de la Tombe Issoire and took pictures of several likely-looking street corners. By now it was obvious that the corner — whichever it was — had changed beyond recognition.

© Piet Schreuders, January 3, 2010

To make sure of the right location I searched online and in photo archives in Paris for old photos of the rue de la Tombe Issoire. Still the results were inconclusive.

52-57 rue de la Tombe Issoire © Pavillon de l'Arsenal

Le Ballon rouge 05’28” detail © Films Montsouris

Then I realized that it must have been a major cross street because there were trees in it.

The shows only two such streets: the boulevard Saint Jacques and the rue d’Alésia. I was willing to put my money on the rue d’Alesia, but still I had no proof.


Finally, in October 2011, I found conclusive evidence in a telephone directory at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris.

The 1954 Liste Alphabetique des Commerçants industriels professions libérales, etc has the following listing:
Chez Hubert, vins et restaur., 16 r. Alésia [no phone number listed]

Another directory, arranged by street, has this listing:
Rue de la Tombe-Issoire
82 – Lesur, vins et restaur., GOB. 11.05

We may safely conclude that the restaurant occupied the corner premises 82 rue de la Tombe Issoire / 16 rue d’Alésia and that mr Lesur’s first name was Hubert. The phone number on the window was his. The man we see cleaing the window as Pascal Lamorisse is passing by may have been mr Lesur himself…

November 19, 2011 © Piet Schreuders

Case closed.

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Scope: a Red Balloon sequel?

Posted by on Avr 1, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

According to IMDb, the film Scope (2004) is a “remake” of The Red Balloon (1956).

Come again?

Scope, a 40-minute experimental short by Corey Smith, can be viewed (and downloaded) here. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Albert Lamorisse’s original except for the fact that a red balloon plays a modest part in it.

Quoting from the film’s website:

Scope, a series of five experimental music videos, starts from the end of a story and moves its way back, explaining the plot from minimal and maximal vantage points. Because of this, the storyline seems unexplainable until the final three minutes in “Tiddler”. Combining these contrasting points of view to create a sense of confusion, Scope incorporates music to add to the bipolarity of these shots, like going from calm, soothing mathematically precisioned timed music box chimes to raw, random mechanically produced noises, all from album with the same name by composer Nobukazu Takemura. Scope’s goal is to show another way that a story can be told, and in the end, Scope is definitely not for everyone. However, those who are patient will certainly appreciate its beauty and theory of repititon and synthesizing.”

A viewer commented, “I didn’t find this film to be anything but a bland waste of my time… After watching this, I realized: life is short, do the best you can with your time on Earth, and do yourself a favor: don’t watch this film.”

© Corey Smith

© Corey Smith

© Corey Smith


Flora Kwong . . . . . . . “Girl” in “Balloon”, “Icefall”, and “Tiddler”
All storyboards, filming, editing, and directing by Corey Smith
Music from the full-length album Scope by Nobukazu Takemura
Courtesy of Thrill Jockey


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