Article: WATCH: ‘The Balloons of Cinema’ ahead of Balloon’s release on 24 September

Ahead of the release of Day For Night’s BALLOON in UK cinemas on 24 September, video essayist Jessica McGoff has created an excellent short film about the power of balloon imagery throughout cinema.

Balloon is the new drama from director Pema Tseden and is the latest film to receive BFI FAN New Release Support. BFI FAN members that screen New Release titles receive support from BFI FAN including marketing resources and social media budget.

Why balloons?

Balloon is set in 1980s Tibet where Dargye and Drolkar’s two boisterous youngest sons have blown up their parents’ condoms like balloons. Not only does this outrage their entire village, but more practically: they have no more condoms. The shepherd couple already have three sons, and as China has recently introduced its one-child policy, they can’t have any more.

Once China’s one-child policy was relaxed in 2015 – now permitting two children per family – space opened up for films examining the often profoundly traumatic consequences of this measure. Tseden takes a drily comic approach to the subject here, captured in deceptively simple handheld footage full of implicit symbolism. In his world, there is no chasm between modernity and tradition; rather, the two gently rub against each other.

With its cool colour palette, attentive handheld camerawork, and painterly passages that seem to transpire somewhere between this world and the next, Balloon approaches weighty themes with beguiling brio and a sense of wonder.

  • Sfera 1932 Award – Special Mention, Venice Film Festival 2019
  • Silver Hugo – Best Screenplay, Chicago International Film Festival 2019
  • Best Film – New Asian Cinema award, Five Flavours Asian Film Festival 2019
  • Grand Prize, Tokyo FILMeX 2019

BFI FAN members that screen Balloon can expect and request:

  • Audio descriptive and captioned versions of the film
  • Marketing pack and assets including programme notes
  • Freelance marketing support in every Film Hub area
  • Pre-recorded Q&A with film talent available (information coming soon)
  • Advice from Inclusive Cinema for exhibitors putting on accessible screenings
  • Budget for Facebook/social media ads

Balloon is released on 24 September 2021 and can be booked via Day For Night by contacting:

Other new Release titles released in the 2021/22 season include the award-winning Sound of Metal from Vertigo ReleasingAnother Round from StudioCanal and Limbo from MUBI.

For more information on how BFI FAN can support your screening, visit to download the marketing pack or email

Impact Areas

Focus Areas