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Most family films nowadays operate on two distinct levels, one for children and another for jaded adults, but these classic shorts by French director Albert Lamorisse are so pure in their emotion and elemental in their drama that parents may be as moved as their kids. In The Red Balloon (1956, 34 min.) a little boy's blue-gray existence is brightened by the arrival of a dramatically red balloon; in the lesser-known White Mane (1953, 40 min.) a boy forges a bond with a proud wild stallion. Both films tell the same story—the balloon is coveted by neighborhood bullies, the stallion by mercenary horse wranglers—and both end with a moment of transcendence, as the boy and his prized "friend" escape the cruel world of grown-ups for the limitless unknown.

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