To fans who were lamenting the news that Studio Ghibli (the famed Japanese animation studio behind such classics as SPIRITED AWAY, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO and PRINCESS MONONOKE) was quitting the feature film business, not to fear. THE RED TURTLE can be viewed as the next phase in Ghibli’s evolution. This is the studio’s first-ever international co-production, as Japan's top anime company partners with the Oscar-winning Dutch-British director Michael Dudok de Wit. This absolutely beautiful film has already been hailed as a masterpiece after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
THE RED TURTLE begins, elegantly but straightforwardly, as the tale of a lone castaway surviving on a desert island. Whenever he attempts to leave on a makeshift raft, a massive red turtle always thwarts his escape. The reason for this is the central mystery of the film. Isao Takahata (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA) serves as artistic producer in this truly enchanting film.
Like de Wit’s Oscar winning animated short FATHER AND DAUGHTER (2001), the film is free of dialogue, which is not a detriment, but an advantage in testing the boundaries of animation, creating an atmosphere and tone that makes the film feel like an age-old fable that has been passed down through generations of retelling. This creates an archetypal narrative that is perfect synthesis of a European fable and the mystical powers of nature that are explored in the best Studio Ghibli films.