Playtime: Bicycles and Balloons
Why bicycles and balloons? Well, both are gentler, more leisurely modes of transport that recall a road not taken in this hurried world of the automobile and the jet engine, and both suggest a lightness and buoyancy and free-floating liberation that’s rarely experienced when traveling chartered courses in boxes of steel and fiberglass. More crucial to our considerations, they’re both at the center of some very lovely films, movies that deal with the pleasures of unconfined movement, as well as the agony of having that emancipation curtailed. A few obvious kinships can be found in this series (The Wizard of Oz and Up), a few perhaps less so (Bicycle Thieves and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure), and throughout it remains a model of truth-in-advertising: there are a lot of bicycles and balloons here.