The red turtle

The red turtle is one of the best animated feature film I’ve ever seen. It is certainly the most beautiful. It tells the tale of a man shipwrecked on a deserted island. After exploring the island, the man realizes that he is indeed alone, except for a small colony of crabs, that acts as the film’s comic relief. The man is comfortably settled into a routine of days at the beach, and sleeping under the stars, on a diet of coconuts and other exotic fruits. After a while though, he feels the desire to rejoin civilisation. He build a raft from bamboo trees and sails away from the island. But he doesn’t go very far because the raft is suddenly attacked and destroyed by an unseen underwater animal. The man does not know what animal that would be. He swims back to the island. Later, he builds a second raft, and again it is destroyed. The man still has no clue what it could be, but it is obvious that something won’t let him leave the island. On his third try he comes face to face with an enormous red turtle just before it breaks the third raft. To tell you more would spoil the film. Let’s just say that I would describe The red turtle as an animated romantic fantasy. Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit’s first feature was funded by Japanese producers. The red turtle shows eastern and western influences, using both hand-drawn and computer-drawn animation techniques. Quiet and poetic one moment (it has no dialogue, except for the occasional international “Hey!”), The red turtle can suddenly become spectacularly powerful. The same could be said about the work of soundmen Sébastien Marquilly, Matthieu Michaux and Florian Fabre, and a magnificent score by Laurent Perez del Mar. Dudok de Wit’s drawings are visually stunning. Images of the sea (waves, underwater sequences and the dangers of the ocean) are particularly effective. Simply breathtaking and jaw-droppingly beautiful. Not to be missed.

And the Oscar went to… Best animated feature film went to Zootopia. Unfortunate.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

The red turtle

Directed by:
Michael Dudok de Wit

Screenplay by:
Michael Dudok de Wit
Pascale Ferran

80 min.

Rated General.

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