Red Turtle: What’s the colour of your turtle?

The film is saying nothing and expressing everything.
I don’t even know how to describe it exactly. The story was so simple but it spoke volumes. It left me moved. I couldn’t leave my seat until the end of the credits. I’m really glad I was waiting to see it in the cinema. It gave the story much more expression and, what’s even more important, let me have a better connection with the music.

Red Turtle poster

Because the music was exceptional. Created by Laurent Perez Del Mar, who is a complete stranger to me, made me feel something I haven’t in a long time. It was the voice of the film and told the story with the universal language that everyone would understand, but never in the same way. This is the power of music, which is the most important type of art in my life.
The film itself wasn’t very popular. It was one of the animations that lost the Oscar to Zootopia, but let’s face it: Except a Disney film, barely anyone watches the Academy Award nominations in an animated feature. I always try to encounter as many nominees as possible, but it’s not easy to do so with my long watchlist. However, something in this film was speaking to me and I didn’t know what until recently. It was almost the time of Polish premiere when I watched a review that pointed out one small fact about the film. And then, everything was clear.


Studio Ghibli logo

Yep. The Red Turtle is produced and partially done by Studio Ghibli. Only four of their animators worked on the film, but you can feel the exact same vibe. And this made me quite excited since it is the very first Ghibli film I was able to see in the cinema.

The plot was simple and predictable, more or less, to everyone. It was another Robinson Crusoe story, rewritten. A beautiful uninhabited island and a castaway. He does exactly what you think he might.
In the beginning, we’re thrown into the sea with our protagonist and we don’t know anything about him. And this is beautiful. Because this is how we can relate to him on the instinctive level of being human. He is exactly that. Human. Our emotions and behaviours. In everything he does, we can find ourselves. The film pictures humanity and life goals we all share. The choices that determine us, but somehow some choices are exactly the same to what our ancestors or other people around us had chosen. Noone wants to be lonely, do we?

Red Turtle

The film wakes up some philosophical questions. Leaving it, you’d rather not discuss it right away, but just drown in your thoughts. And I wonder, how much can be told without saying a word. How deep our feelings can go.

The film bases its wisdom on dreams and metaphors. There are plenty of scenes showing the wishes of the character. The manipulations in these scenes couldn’t have been done if it wasn’t an animated feature. This way we can wonder if it’s real or not. Or maybe, everything there was only a dream? Or all of it was real? It gives a touch of uncertainty.

Apart from that, it is an incredible piece of art. The landscapes were so gorgeous and soft. They seemed to be a watercolour painting animated. As in every single Ghibli film, every detail had been taken care of. I loved the gentleness of the lines. Making it in more European style, the film gave a different kind of experience. As a Ghibli fan, it was great. I love every single film I’ve watched (not all yet!), but Red Turtle was closer to our world and it didn’t have all the Japanese references that made Ghibli films more… exotic?

What stole the film, I guess, were the animals. Small crabs and birds were melting my heart. The details are what gave the film just a bit more magic. And made me love the Red Turtle even more.

Cons? There was only one. Some genius had brought a bunch of kids. I hate the fact that every single animated feature is considered for kids. It isn’t such. A kid doesn’t understand the life shown there. And, what’s more, I had to do my best to ignore their comments during the film. It was annoying at best.

Apart from that, I loved every second of this spectacle. It was this special moment in my life which changed me somehow, but I haven’t discovered how exactly. And what specifically caused it. Anyway, I was dreaming while watching.
At least these are my thoughts. I believe everyone would interpret it differently. And to be honest, I encourage everyone to do so. And share. This is a journey of life and each of us understands the concept differently. And it is beautiful, isn’t it?

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