In 2014, the world was surprised with the announcement that the most beloved animation house in Japan, Studio Ghibli, would close its doors for good. The story was eventually proven to be erroneous and was simply a product of poor translation of the remarks made by producer Toshio Suzuki.
"The Red Turtle" confirmed that the news just wasn't true, as it was the first film since two years ago to bear the name of Studio Ghibli. The film was directed by a Dutch director, animated in France and is a totally silent movie, delivered entirely without a single dialogue.
Helmed by Michael Dudok de Wit, the film centers on a young man left on a desert island after a killer storm. He attempts to escape through a series of improvised rafts, but each attempt is thwarted by a turtle. The funny thing is, whenever he tries to even the score with the mysterious creature, it transforms into a beautiful woman and a companion on the island.
The film generally depicts a natural world that is capable of both beauty and cruelty. It has received generally positive reviews from critics because of its metaphors and simplicity. Japan Times noted that the film sits more comfortably within the Ghibli canon than other films offered by would-be Miyazaki heirs over the past decade.
"Dudok de Wit mines some of the same emotional territory as Miyazaki and Isao Takahata - that combination of wonder and yearning - without aping them, and Laurent Perez Del Mar's score swoons as emotively as anything by Joe Hisaishi," noted Japan Times.