- 06 Jun 17
Studio Ghibli's latest is an achingly beautiful tale of man, magic and nature.
At a time when animated films compete to have the latest visual technology, the most famous celebrity voices, and more pop culture references than your average issue of Hot Press, there’s something essential, meditative and soul-soothingly simple about The Red Turtle.
The first non-Japanese offering from the renowned Studio Ghibli, Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit was commissioned by the studio after his animated short Father And Daughter won an Oscar in 2000. The investment was a wise one; The Red Turtle was rewarded with an Oscar nomination. And little wonder for such a wonder. The film is exquisitely rendered in pencil lines and brushstrokes, and not a word is spoken. The film’s dialogue is nature conversing with itself; the crashing of waves, the rustling of flora, the movement of fauna.
The story, like the visual style, is simple and elemental. A man is washed ashore a deserted tropical island with sandy beaches, a dense bamboo forest and a small host of creatures, from scuttling crabs to glorious sea lions. The island also has a guardian. Every time the hapless sailor tries to leave, a giant red turtle appears and smashes his raft.