The Red Turtle
|The Red Turtle|
US theatrical release poster
|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 Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch, 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 man set adrift by a storm wakes up on a beach. He discovers that he is on a deserted island with plenty of fresh water, fruit and a dense bamboo forest. He builds a raft from bamboo and attempts to sail away, but his raft is destroyed by an unseen monster in the sea, forcing him back to the island. He tries again with a larger raft, but is again foiled by the creature. A third attempt ends with the raft destroyed but this time he is confronted by a giant turtle with a bright red shell.
That evening, the man sees the red turtle crawling up the beach. In anger, he hits it on the head with a bamboo stick, then flips it over onto its back, stranding it. While working on another raft, he feels remorse and returns to the turtle but it is too heavy for him to flip over. He fetches water for it, but when he returns, it is dead. He falls asleep next to it. In the morning, the man is surprised to find a red-haired woman lying unconscious inside the shell, which has split. He fetches water for her and builds a shelter to protect her from the sun. When rain hits, the woman wakes up and goes swimming. The woman casts the shell adrift on the sea and the man does the same to his raft. The two fall in love.
The couple have a red-haired son. The curious boy finds a glass bottle and his father and mother tell him their story. After accidentally falling into the sea, the boy learns he is a natural swimmer, and swims with three green turtles. He swims back to his mother, who hugs him and looks out at the sea with apprehension. The boy grows into a young man. One day, a tsunami hits. After the tsunami recedes, the young man searches for his parents and finds his mother wounded with no sign of his father. He calls the three turtles and they help him swim out into the sea, where they find his father desperately clinging to some bamboo. They rescue him, the young man finds his glass bottle, and the family clean up the wreckage and burn the dead bamboo.
One day the young man has a dream about swimming away into the sea. He says goodbye to his parents and swims away with the three green turtles. The man and woman continue to live on the island and grow old together, still very much in love. One night, after gazing at the moon, the man closes his eyes and dies. The woman grieves. She lies next to him, and lays her hand on his. Her hand transforms into a flipper and, now the red turtle, she crawls down the beach and swims away.
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 165 reviews, with an average of 8.07/10. 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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