THe reD TUr­TLe

Swept away

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 25 sepTem­Ber (out 18 septem­ber on down­load) 2017 | pG | Blu-ray & dVd (dou­ble­play)/dVd/down­load Di­rec­tor michaël du­dok de Wit

It’s easy to see why so many peo­ple rushed to watch The Red Tur­tle when it was re­leased in cin­e­mas this spring. Touted as a Stu­dio Ghi­bli co-pro­duc­tion, it was cat­nip for au­di­ences raised on the charms and fantasy worlds of Ja­panese car­toons.

But The Red Tur­tle is some­thing else en­tirely, starker than the usual Ghi­bli film and more har­row­ing. There are mo­ments of jovi­al­ity, from a group of in­quis­i­tive crabs to a lush, leafy for­est, but this hushed fa­ble will leave you reel­ing.

The premise is sim­ple. Af­ter a sea­farer’s boat is de­stroyed in a storm, he wakes up on a de­serted is­land and dis­cov­ers a gi­ant tur­tle guard­ing its wa­ters. Un­able to es­cape, the man soon forms a com­pan­ion­ship with the crea­ture.

This is a fairly short film, and one devoid of speech, but that doesn’t make it any less mov­ing. Though it’s aimed at chil­dren, the emo­tions are achingly adult, ex­plor­ing love, loss, lone­li­ness and a yearn­ing to be­long. Ab­so­lutely rav­ish­ing, the film’s last mo­ments may be the most pow­er­ful of 2017.

Ex­tras Fea­turette “Se­crets Of The Red Tur­tle” (17 min­utes), in which di­rec­tor Michaël Du­dok de Wit demon­strates how he be­gan an­i­mat­ing the film’s back­grounds and char­ac­ters, start­ing with faint char­coal lines on white pa­per. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing peek be­hind the scenes, but feels too brief. Kim­ber­ley Bal­lard

Hayao Miyazaki asked to see Michaël Du­dok de Wit per­son­ally af­ter watch­ing his short film “Fa­ther And Daugh­ter”.

It’s all very ro­man­tic un­til a tur­tle poos.

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