The Red Turtle
|The Red Turtle|
|Directed by||Michaël Dudok de Wit|
|Music by||Laurent Perez del Mar|
|Box office||$6.6 million|
The Red Turtle (French: La Tortue Rouge; Japanese: レッドタートル ある島の物語, romanized: Reddo Tātoru: Aru Shima no Monogatari) is a 2016 animated fantasy drama film co-written and directed by Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit and produced by Toshio Suzuki from Japan. The film is a co-production between Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli, and tells the story of a man who becomes shipwrecked on a deserted island and meets a giant red female turtle. The film has no dialogue. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Film for the 89th Academy Awards.
A nameless man set adrift by a storm wakes up on a deserted island, which he discovers is rich in resources. He finds fresh fruit and water, as well as a variety of small animals and a dense bamboo forest, and prepares to leave the island. He builds a raft from bamboo and attempts to sail away. However, an unseen sea creature destroys the raft, forcing him back to the island. He tries again with another, larger raft, but is again foiled by the sea creature. A third attempt again ends with the raft destroyed, but this time he finds a giant red turtle facing him in the water. The turtle does not harm him, and he retreats to the island.
That evening, the man sees the red turtle crawling onto the shore, heading inland. In anger, he hits the red turtle about the head with a bamboo stick, then pushes it over onto its back. Partway into building another raft, he feels remorse about leaving the turtle upside-down and tries to flip it back over, but finds it too heavy. He races to get fresh water to revive the turtle, but, realizing it is dead, falls asleep next to it. During the night, the turtle's shell splits down the middle and the man is surprised to see a woman lying unconscious inside the shell. He fetches water for her and builds a shelter to protect her from the sun. When rain hits the island, the woman wakes up. The man notices her gone and searches the island for her, eventually spotting her in the sea. He removes his shirt, leaving it for her on the beach, and retreats. Later, he sees her dragging the now empty turtle shell out to sea and setting it to drift off. He does the same with his half-built raft. The two soon form a romantic bond.
An indefinite time later, the couple has a son. The curious boy finds a glass bottle and learns about his origin. After accidentally falling into a small cavern, the boy learns to swim on his own and forms a relationship with some sea turtles. The boy grows up knowing only the island. One day, as he goes inland for fresh water with his bottle, a tsunami hits. No one is severely hurt, but the bamboo forest is nearly demolished. After the three clean up the island and burn the dead bamboo, the boy has a dream of swimming away from the island. He and his parents realize that it is time for him to leave, and he swims away with a trio of green turtles. And the boy was never seen again.
The man and the woman continue to live on the island, growing old but still much in love with one another. One night, after gazing at the moon over the ocean, the man closes his eyes and dies. The woman soon realizes his passing and grieves. The next morning she lies next to him with deep sadness, holds his hand one last time, then transforms back into a red turtle and returns to the sea.
The film was co-produced by Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli in association with Why Not Productions. According to Vincent Maraval, head of Wild Bunch, he visited Studio Ghibli in Japan in 2008 and met with Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki showed him the short film Father and Daughter and asked him to find its director, Michaël Dudok de Wit, with the prospect of co-producing a feature film. Wild Bunch approached Dudok de Wit in London and convinced him to take on the project. The screenplay was written by Dudok de Wit and Pascale Ferran.
The film had its world premiere on 18 May at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed in the Un Certain Regard section. On 13 June, it was screened as the opening film of the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The regular French release was 29 June 2016. It was released in Japan on 17 September 2016. In May 2016, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North and Latin American distribution rights for the film and was released in the United States on 20 January 2017. The Red Turtle was played in the London Film Festival on 5 October 2016 and eventually released in the United Kingdom by StudioCanal on May 26, 2017.
The Red Turtle received critical acclaim. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 93% score based on 160 reviews, with an average of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Red Turtle adds to Studio Ghibli's estimable legacy with a beautifully animated effort whose deceptively simple story boasts narrative layers as richly absorbing as its lovely visuals." Metacritic reports an 86 out of 100 rating, based on 32 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
In Japan it was released in theaters on September 17 and grossed a total of $328,750 during its first weekend.
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Academy Awards||February 26, 2017||Best Animated Feature||Michaël Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki||Nominated|||
|Annie Awards||February 4, 2017||Best Animated Feature — Independent||The Red Turtle||Won|||
|Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in an Animated Production||Mouloud Oussid||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production||Michaël Dudok de Wit||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production||Laurent Perez del Mar||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Feature Production||Michaël Dudok de Wit and Pascale Ferran||Nominated|
|Cannes Film Festival||May 21, 2016||Un Certain Regard Special Prize||Michaël Dudok de Wit||Won|||
|Prize Un Certain Regard||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 15, 2016||Best Animated Film||The Red Turtle||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Awards||December 11, 2016||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|||
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association||December 4, 2016||Best Animated Film||Runner-up|||
|Magritte Award||February 4, 2017||Best Foreign Film in Coproduction||Won|||
|Best Sound||Nils Fauth and Peter Soldan||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society||January 3, 2017||Best Animated Feature||The Red Turtle||Nominated|||
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle||December 11, 2016||Best Animated Feature||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||February 19, 2017||Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature||Nominated|||
|Toronto Film Critics Association||December 11, 2016||Best Animated Film||Runner-up|||
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