The Red Balloon/White Mane

Rated 5.0

These two kid-tested, film-critic-approved shorts by Albert Lamorisse might collectively be described as Boys With Willful Things on the Ends of Strings. In White Mane (39 minutes, 1953), a boy befriends an apparently untamable stallion; in The Red Balloon (34 minutes, 1956), a boy befriends an apparently sentient balloon. Which is not to say that friendship in either case comes too easily. Both films offer jaw-droppingly beautiful cinematography, thrilling chase scenes and just enough of the cruelty and inanity of the grown-up world to make their respites so enduringly delightful. The latter is better known because it’s a purely cinematic masterpiece, and in the sense that it plies the craft of earning wonder, a literal work of magic.