Canadian Theatrical News: The Red Turtle


Not often do I get to talk about an Oscar nominated film on this blog, but here we are! The France-Belgium-Japan co-production, The Red Turtle, is up for Best Animated Feature at next month’s Academy Awards. While it’s unlikely that category will go to something that isn’t a mainstream box office hit, it’s a still a great accomplishment. The film, directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit, who won an Academy Award for his 2000 short film Father & Daughter, was produced in association with Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch. This weekend Canadians unable to attend the movie’s film festival run will get a shot to watch it … well, assuming it’s running in your city.


A nameless man finds himself washed ashore on a deserted island with only the animal inhabitants to keep him company. The man attempts to escape the island by constructing a bamboo raft, with some assistance from the comically ever-present island crabs. His efforts are thwarted, however, by the appearance of a mysterious giant red turtle.

The man’s plans to leave the island change, when he discovers the giant turtle is not exactly what it first appears to be.

Maintaining a distance from the man, and by avoiding the use of dialogue, the man is a blank slate that is both mysterious and universally identifiable. His hyper-simplistic character design fits within the texture-rich environment and fluid score to create a surreal tale the Telegraph called a “wordless wonder.”

Boucherville, Quebec Cinéma Cineplex Odeon Boucheville Jan. 27 – 31 @ 1:05PM + 3:05PM + 5:15PM + 7:25PM + 10PM, Feb. 1 – 2 @ 2:30PM + 5:30PM + 8:30PM
Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario Princess Cinemas Original Feb. 17 @ 4:45PM/9:10 pm, Feb. 18 @ 5:15PM/7PM, Feb. 19 @ 5:15PM, Feb 20 @ 2:50PM/7PM, Feb. 21 @ 4:50PM/9:05PM, Feb. 22 @ 7:00PM/8:45PM, Feb. 23 @ 7:00 pm
Montreal, Quebec Cinéma Beaubien Jan. 27 – Feb. 2 @ 10:20AM + 12:45PM + 2:30PM + 4:45PM + 7PM
Montreal, Quebec Cinéma Cineplex Forum Jan. 27 – Feb. 2 @ various
Montreal, Quebec Cinéma Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin Jan. 27 – Feb. 2 @ various
Ottawa, Ontario ByTowne Cinema Feb. 3 – Feb. 16 @ various
Quebec City, Quebec Cinéma Le Clap Jan. 27 – Feb. 2 @ 9:30AM + 12:20PM + 2:20PM + 4:10PM + 6PM
Sainte-Adèle, Quebec Cinema Pine TBA
Sherbrooke, Quebec La Maison Du Cinéma Jan 27 – Feb. 2 @ 12:55PM + 2:45PM + 5:35PM + 7:20PM
Toronto, Ontario TIFF Bell Lightbox Jan. 27 – Feb. 23 @ various
Trois-Rivières, Quebec Cinéma La Tapis Rouge Jan. 27 – Feb. 2 @ 3:15PM + 5PM + 6PM

Important to note that while Sony Pictures Classic is handling the movie’s release in the US, Montreal-based French film distributor A-Z Films has picked it up in Canada. Unfortunately, that means I can’t link you to an ever expanding list of theatres, since their page on The Red Turtle is rather thin. Your best bet is to keep your eyes peeled on your local arthouses.

With January’s insanity coming to a close, the next theatrical releases headed our way are Sailor Moon R: The Movie on March 1st, Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale possibly on March 17th and your name. on April 7th

  1. The Red Turtle is the exact opposite: It’s a story for adults told with the simplicity of a nursery fable. It can be read as a metaphor for being stuck in life, whether literally on an island or figuratively in a job, a relationship, or a town that you hate, and about making peace with that situation.

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