The Red Turtle is of unparalleled emotion (critic)

The Red Turtle is of unparalleled emotion (critic)

Sponsored by Ghibli, this first feature film from a Dutch animation genius is a marvel of poetry and intelligence.

Now that television channels can offer films on Saturday evenings, France 4 is banking on a little animated masterpiece: The Red Turtle (2016), by Michaël Dudok de Wit. Here is the review “falling for something” of First.

Initiated by studio Ghibli, which wanted at all costs to work with the gifted Dutchman Michaël Dudok de Wit (recipient of a César and an Oscar for his shorts, The Monk and the Fish And The Father and the Daughter), The Red Turtle is a decisive project in more than one way: it is the first feature film by a filmmaker considered to be a leader in his field; it is also the first foreign film co-produced by Ghibli and the first animated film financed by Arte. Advised by Isao Takahata, who served as artistic director (you can feel it: the delicacy of the charcoal line is remarkable), Michaël Dudok de Wit, French by adoption, wrote the story with Pascale Ferran for a result which combines simplicity and symbolism.

Without any dialogue, this Robinsonade describes the difficult daily life of a shipwrecked man on a desert island. His only companions are mischievous crabs and a mysterious red turtle who savagely destroys the makeshift rafts that the poor guy tries to launch into the sea. Why? This is the main issue of a film which attempts to explain the mystery of life. Just that.

Takahata, the model
It's difficult to go into detail without spoiling the plot which uses the marvelous and the myth to better take us on an inner journey of which it is up to each person to define the degrees of intimate resonance. Attention : The Red Turtle is anything but boring! It is a film of unparalleled emotion, of such poetry that it compels even the coldest hearts. We hardly see an equivalent in world production, except among the magicians of Ghibli, led by Takahata, the master of pointillist melodrama. Rest assured of one thing: this is at least the most beautiful animated film you will see in 2016.

Michaël Dudok de Wit: “Ghibli has done me a great honor”

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