Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
The Red Turtle (Michaël Dudok de Wit/2016)
The rough, crashing waves begin this warm and mesmerising tale of family. Accessible to all, The Red Turtle has no dialogue, forcing you to watch and immerse yourself into this inviting blue sea. By relying solely on vivid, engaging animation, Michaël Dudok de Wit tells his story in pure visual form. The man, washed upon the island, has no name and no nationality. Nevertheless, his desire to survive is relatable. A small mistake, such as falling down a crevasse, leads to dangerous decisions, as he squeezes himself through thin gaps underwater. One second longer and it could all be over. He builds a raft but something stops him from leaving. He learns that it is an enormous red turtle. Nature forces him to return to the island. Unlike Castaway, The Red Turtle purposely expects to be seen as a surreal fable. There are unexpected outcomes and strange switches in the story, forcing you to revaluate what it means. It is not a literal tale, yet it manages to speak to us with profound sincerity. The Red Turtle, in its compact length and escapist setting, requires multiple viewings. Your interpretation will differ depending on who you are – and, when older, you’ll interpret it differently again. Presented by Studio Ghibli, akin to Takahata’s My Neighbours the Yamadas, this is an entirely different style to most Ghibli productions, but it transports you to a world expecting reflection. It is wonderfully dreamlike in its measured pace and you’ll soar to its impressive heights.