The Red Turtle is an animated film directed and written by Michael Dudok de Wit and is his feature film debut. The film had gotten a larger amount of publicity for a filmmaker who had only previously made short films due to it being a co-production between Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli, who actually reached out to him with the idea for the film. I was lucky to see it in the Odeon Leicester Square on the 6th October as part of the BFI LFF.
The film is dialogue free and follows a man who is left on an island after a storm and his individual experiences of him exploring and trying to escape, while he is slowly losing his mind. The film’s animation quality was amazing and the style reminded me a lot of the work of Herge. I also loved the lack of dialogue, which allowed for more focus to be brought to the beautiful soundtrack and sound design, something which Dudok de Wit talked about himself in a mini post qna, emphasizing that the sound design was extremely specific, with the characters breathing even being recorded and added very quietly throughout the film to develop the intimacy of the protagonist and the audience. The lack of dialogue also allowed for a larger focus on symbolism, with the responses to the film surprising him since it’s release due to the contrasting opinions on scenes. One in particular is where the character falls into cavern, unable to escape, leading him to dive underwater and through a hole in the rocks back to dry land. The scene acts as a way to develop danger and getting over hurdles, while also being a way to create tension, however the scene could be seen to symbolize rebirth as the character is coming out into the world again.
I really enjoyed the film overall and i’m excited to see it again in the future.