Evan Hughes managed to create one of the saddest yet amazing animation dramas we’ve seen in this competition so far. Based on a theme so common in our times, the dysfunctional family, Hughes transposed the everyday struggle of a mother and her child facing the 'almighty' power of the father in clay characters that made everything look more dramatic.
In 'Balloon Ride' we were delighted to find one of the most impressive scores a short animation can offer. The lack of dialogue made the soundtrack come in compensation and by all means it did a great job. This short can easily be fitted as the promotional video for a campaign raising awareness upon domestic violence. For the child in this short, the only form of freedom he encounters is when he closes his eyes and goes to sleep, when he is able to do whatever he wants and to see what he desires. It is all good in his mind until the subconscious kicks in and stumbles across his dreams with real life based incursions that he can’t handle.
The behaviour of the mother when the father comes home shows the power of manipulation the 'over the limit' patriarchal family can express. When the plate breaks, the real shock abounds in the woman’s conduct. Almost the same type of abuse can be found in the first half of Lenny Abrahamson’s movie, Room – the fear of the oppressing power is the only law after which the two 'inmates' are conducting their lives.
In 'Balloon Ride', the act of sleeping is seen as the supreme way of escaping the terror life can come up with when luck is not on our side. The red balloon is the gate to a life without pain and suffering, without bad or good. The red balloon is something we encounter every day and most of the times we are too busy or blind to see it.
Review written by Vlad A.G