The Red Turtle (2016)

[La tortue rouge]

The Red Turtle (2016)

Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
Starring: Emmanuel Garijo, Tom Hudson, Baptiste Goy

A man shipwrecked on a desert island finds all his attempts to leave thwarted by a red sea turtle.

Before Hayao Miyazaki decided to come out of retirement, the future of Studio Ghibli seemed to be in doubt and then this film came along, a French coproduction that looked like the sort of opportunities for the talent at Ghibli in the absence of leadership to helm internal projects. Isao Takahata works as the artistic producer, but most of the creative direction comes from the French side, so despite Ghibli's involvement, this feels more like a European animation in terms of themes and aesthetic. This isn't a problem. Just don't go in expecting a Ghibli film. I do like that the storytelling is done with virtually no dialog (if some occasional shouting counts as dialog), but I've seen a number of castaway stories and this doesn't provide that much that's new. Is this magical realism? Allegory? The protagonist's dying dream while adrift? I couldn't tell you. If you need a lot of plot to keep you going, you're going to be disappointed. This is a slow-moving film and not a lot happens, but if you're game for the experience this film provides, I think you'll like it. It's worth watching at the very least.

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