Michaël Dudok de Wit’s debut feature “The Red Turtle” will premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes, and if we were to judge from the trailer, it may be one of the most beautiful films to screen in Croisette this year.
Marking the anticipated return of Studio Ghibli (the film is their first co-production), the French-Japanese animated film tells the story of a man shipwrecked at sea who becomes stranded on a deserted island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds. He learns to live in isolation, until he comes upon a woman lost at sea and begins a life with her. The entire 80-minute movie features very little dialogue and looks absolutely gorgeous, once more exemplyfying the benefits of 2D animation. The screenplay was written by Dudok de Wit and French screenwriter (and director) Pascale Ferran (Lady Chatterley, The Bird People).
Ghibli is at a very critical point in their history now that founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata have turned in their final features. The company has found success in recent years from young animators like Hiromasa Yonebayashi (“When Marnie Was There”) and Miyazaki’s son Goro (“From Up on Poppy Hill”), but “The Red Turtle” marks the start of a new venture as it finds the company welcoming London-based animator Michaël Dudok de Wit into the mix, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 for his animated short film “Father and Daughter”.Wild Bunch head Vincent Maraval visited Studio Ghibli in 2008 and was shown this short film by Hayao Miyazaki, who tasked him to find its director with the hopes that they could co-produce a feature with him.
The product of this collaboration is a film that is much different from the usual style of the legendary Studio, since the drawings are once more hand-made, but this time they were made created on charcoal. On the other hand, the story is equal to the masterpieces of Studio Ghibli. The lack of dialogues is definitely a bet for the co-production, but the film is filled with magnificent images and stunning sequences that will definitely compensate.
The animation is schedule to screen in Japan in September, but has yet to get US distribution.
Sources: indiwire.com, slashfilm.com