The White Balloon

Jafar Panahi’s The White Balloon is not a children’s film, though it does star a child and is definitely worth showing your kids… at least, any kid not raised on a steady diet of fast-paced video games and constant ADD-inducing stimulus. The White Balloon is a film that proves stories don’t have to be uber-kinetic to be compelling.

The premise- a little girl wants to buy a fish but can’t afford one- is simple enough, but it is so brilliantly told, so visually perfect and compelling in its narrative, that this little debut feature by a then-unknown-Iranian filmmaker should be required viewing for the entire world. That it was the first Iranian film ever to win a major prize at Cannes doesn’t seem to be an impressive enough fact to make it available for streaming, so let’s remedy that right now. No matter what your age, it’s worth a look.

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