The new Apple commercial is pure art, but it’s more than that. It’s also a nod to the 1956 short, “The Red Balloon”— one of the great films of all-time.
The Red Balloon for 2016
As you see above, the ad starts with a red balloon escaping from a window of a small home on a gray and dreary day. It then makes its lonely way across equally dreary but still beautiful landscapes, across an ocean and through a forest, until it finds the grunginess of urban civilization.
The red balloon gets caught under a dripping, rusty, old bridge. This ugly landscape is where it finds a yellow balloon — it’s perfect mate.
The red balloon and yellow balloon, now intertwined by their strings, spiral up from under the bridge where they join a sudden sea of bright balloons.
Together, the balloons soar by the thousands through a gray, cold city until they come to an open window in a high-rise apartment.
As the balloons pour into the apartment window, a text message appears on the phone. It’s a “Happy Birthday” from the home we see in the very beginning, and it features the phone’s new expressive messaging balloon feature.
Set to music, no words are spoken in the ad.
It’s a gorgeous ad. Understand— we are not affiliated with or endorsing any company or product by any means, we’re simply casual observers like you and lovers of great art. And of course, balloons!
And we also appreciate the tribute to the 1956 classic film.
The Red Balloon 1956
The new commercial beautifully updates storylines and scenes from the Academy Award-winning French short film, “The Red Balloon” from over half-a-century ago.
The Albert Lamorisse masterpiece is a 34-minute film about a boy and his red balloon, which is the only real color in a film shot in the drab city streets of post-war Paris. (Watch it in it’s entirety below)
Like the new ad, the original film also uses almost no spoken words. Visuals and metaphors mostly tell the story of the boy and the red balloon.
The pair go everywhere together, confronting the joy, playfulness, struggles, and pain that each of us goes through during childhood.
After a group of kids attack and destroy the boy’s red balloon, balloons from all over Paris escape from their pens and congregate around him. The boy grabs all of the strings of the balloons, is lifted up, and soars away over the city.
In a time of constant cinematic remakes, The Red Balloon should be left to stand alone. However, if there was any way to both pay tribute to the original film and reintroduce it to a new generation, this was about as perfect as it could be done. Even if it was to sell a product, it is in fact, art.
The Red Balloon: full film