Soon after Japan relinquishes control of Taiwan in 1945, the Lin brothers face hardships from the changing culture. Bar owner Wen-heung, the eldest brother, falls foul of local gangsters, Wen-sun disappears, and Wen-leung, scarred by his experiences in the war, ends up in an insane asylum. Deaf-mute photographer Wen-ching, the youngest brother, decides to make a stand and fight the Kuomintang government from China that is assuming power.
The first part in a new series of films produced by Musée d’Orsay, ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’ tells the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film was shot in August and September 2006 on location in Paris. This is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first Western film. It is based on the classic French short The Red Balloon directed by Albert Lamorisse.