Another extraordinary work from famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, The Red Turtle is also the studio’s first international co-production. Academy Award-winning Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit has collaborated with Studio Ghibli to make his first feature-length film, a tale told with a classic simplicity that belies its emotional power.
Shipwrecked on a deserted island, a lone man struggles to find his place in this new world. The basics for survival are abundant yet frustratingly out of reach and danger lurks in the smallest of crevices; every isolated grotto is also a potential grave. The man cleverly uses the forest’s resources to support his raft-making efforts but every attempt to escape is thwarted by an enormous sea turtle that seems intent on having him stay. Enraged, he attacks the turtle, intent on killing it. What happens next is the beginning of a new chapter in the man’s life, one that will instruct him in the ways of companionship and lead him to understand that nature must take its course.
The Red Turtle luxuriates in the magic of life and the cycles of nature. Its languorous, entirely wordless storytelling arouses the senses, inspires wonder and invites viewers to cast themselves in the central role. All the hallmarks of a Studio Ghibli film are here—not least of all, the studio’s compassionate treatment of humanist themes—rendered in De Wit’s singular animation style. It is an artistic partnership that has given us one of the year’s finest cinematic experiences.
“This is a quiet little masterpiece of images, each one rich with meaning, that collectively speak to a universal process.” (Eric Kohn, Indiewire)
“This is, quite simply, thoughtful and ultimately moving animation at its best.” (Lisa Nesselson, Screen International)
“Michael Dudok de Wit’s hypnotizing, entirely dialogue-free The Red Turtle is a fable so simple, so pure, it feels as if it has existed for hundreds of years, like a brilliant shard of sea glass rendered smooth and elegant through generations of retelling.” (Peter Debruge, Variety)