The Red Turtle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Red Turtle
The Red Turtle.png
Directed byMichaël Dudok de Wit
Produced by
Written by
Music byLaurent Perez del Mar
Distributed by
Release date
  • 18 May 2016 (2016-05-18) (Cannes)
  • 29 June 2016 (2016-06-29) (France)
  • 17 September 2016 (2016-09-17) (Japan)
Running time
80 minutes
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Japan
  • Germany
Box office$6.6 million[4]

The Red Turtle (French: La Tortue Rouge; Japanese: レッドタートル ある島の物語, romanizedReddo 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.[5] It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[6][7] 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.[8][9]


The film had its world premiere on 18 May at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed in the Un Certain Regard section.[10] On 13 June, it was screened as the opening film of the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival.[11] The regular French release was 29 June 2016.[12] It was released in Japan on 17 September 2016.[13] In May 2016, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North and Latin American distribution rights for the film[14] 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.


Critical response[edit]

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."[15] Metacritic reports an 86 out of 100 rating, based on 32 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[16]

In Japan it was released in theaters on September 17 and grossed a total of $328,750 during its first weekend.[17]


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 [18]
Annie Awards February 4, 2017 Best Animated Feature — Independent The Red Turtle Won [20]
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 [2]
Prize Un Certain Regard Nominated
Camera d'Or Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association December 15, 2016 Best Animated Film The Red Turtle Nominated [21]
Critics' Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Animated Feature Nominated [22]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association December 4, 2016 Best Animated Film Runner-up [23]
Magritte Award February 4, 2017 Best Foreign Film in Coproduction Won [24]
Best Sound Nils Fauth and Peter Soldan Nominated
Online Film Critics Society January 3, 2017 Best Animated Feature The Red Turtle Nominated [25]
San Francisco Film Critics Circle December 11, 2016 Best Animated Feature Won [26]
Satellite Awards February 19, 2017 Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Nominated [28]
Toronto Film Critics Association December 11, 2016 Best Animated Film Runner-up [29]


  1. ^ "The Red Turtle - descriptions". Prima Linea Productions. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Amidi, Amid (22 May 2016). "Michael Dudok de Wit's 'The Red Turtle' Wins At Cannes". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  3. ^ "The Red Turtle French press kit" (PDF) (in French). Wild Bunch. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 May 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  4. ^ "The Red Turtle (2017) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  5. ^ Amidi, Amid (13 May 2016). "Watch the Trailer for Michael Dudok de Wit's 'The Red Turtle,' Debuting At Cannes". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  6. ^ "2016 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup". IndieWire. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Cannes 2016: Film Festival Unveils Official Selection Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  8. ^ Père, Olivier (18 February 2014). "Arte France Cinéma coproduit The Red Turtle, premier long métrage d'animation de Michael Dudok de Wit". (in French). Arte. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  9. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (24 April 2014). "Wild Bunch unveils first titles on Cannes slate". Screen Daily. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Screenings Guide" (PDF). Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  11. ^ Goodfellow, Melanie (28 April 2016). "Annecy animation festival unveils 2016 line-up". Screen International. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  12. ^ "La Tortue rouge". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Studio Ghibli Co-Produced Film The Red Turtle Opens Next September". Anime News Network. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  14. ^ Ford, Rebecca (19 May 2016). "Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Takes 'The Red Turtle'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  15. ^ "The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  16. ^ "The Red Turtle Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Studio Ghibli's New Movie Isn't Doing Well In Japan". Kotaku. Brian Ashcraft. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  18. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (24 January 2017). "Oscars: 'La La Land' Ties Record With 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 January 2017.[dead link]
  19. ^ "Oscar Nominations: Complete List". Variety. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  20. ^ "44th Annie Award Nominees". International Animated Film Society. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  21. ^ "The 2016 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Nominees". Chicago Film Critics Association. 11 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  23. ^ "42nd Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2016 Winners". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. 4 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Magritte du Cinéma: "Les premiers les derniers" et "Keeper" sont favoris". La Libre Belgique (in French). 10 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  25. ^ "20th Annual Online Film Critics Society Awards Nominations". Online Film Critics Society. 27 December 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  26. ^ Flores, Marshall (9 December 2016). "San Francisco Film Critics Circle Nominations!". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  27. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (12 December 2016). "'Moonlight' Named Best Picture by San Francisco Film Critics Circle". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  28. ^ Kilday, Gregg (29 November 2016). "Satellite Awards Nominees Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  29. ^ Vlessing, Etan (12 December 2016). "'Moonlight' Named Best Film by Toronto Film Critics". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 December 2016.

External links[edit]