Animation giant Studio Ghibli has a new lovely creation upon us and the early word is that it’s a ravishing beaut. The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) breaks tradition for Studio Ghibli in that it’s the first of their films not to be directed by a Japanese filmmaker – breaking out, perhaps, following the retirement of the revered Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away). It’s Dutch filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit, here making his feature-length directorial debut, who helmed and co-wrote this original story alongside Pascale Ferran.
The Red Turtle made its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it picked up a Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard sidebar of the festival; the film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, who may have an animated feature Oscar contender here. The story follows the major life stages of cast away deserted on a tropical island that is populated with the likes of turtles, crabs and birds. While dialogue free, the film has already won over the hearts of many critics. IndieWire‘s Eric Kohn wrote, “This is a quiet little masterpiece of images, each one rich with meaning, that collectively speak to a universal process,” while Variety‘s Peter Debruge was similar with his praise of the film, stating, “A fable so simple, so pure, it feels as if it has existed for hundreds of years, like a brilliant shard of sea glass rendered smooth and elegant through generations of retelling.”
As of now, The Red Turtle is set to hit stateside theaters on January 20, 2017. Check out the trailer below.