The Three Winds of Albert Lamorisse

Mark Goodall


This text discusses the films of French director Albert Lamorisse in relation to the poetics of cinema. It focuses on three of Lamorisse’s films (Crin Blanc (1953), Le Ballon rouge (1956) and Le Vent des amoureux (1978) in order to examine his fascination with wind, a force of nature, due to its invisibility, that is virtually impossible to capture on film. Certain French theorists however, have tried to explain the power of the wind, most notably Gaston Bachelard, whose works are quoted here as part of the analysis, while a few distinguished filmmakers, such as Joris Ivens and Andrei Tarkovsky, have used wind in interesting ways. But only Lamorisse had what could be described as a sustained obsession. Despite early success (the great French film theorist André Bazin was praiseworthy about his short films), Lamorisse has been somewhat neglected in recent years. Thus, this essay highlights the unique skills of a ‘forgotten man’ of French post-war cinema.

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