The Waterworld of Michael Dudok de Wit

In this interview Director Michael Dudok de Wit talks about the use of the waterworld, water and aquatic creatures in his film The Red Turtle and his other works. De Correspondent originally conducted this interview and published it on their website on July 21, 2016. If you can read Dutch, please click here to read the interview in its original language.

Michael Dudok de Wit labored ten years on his new, widely praised animation film about a man who washes up on an inhabited island. Water and aquatic animals are recurring themes in his works. Where does his fascination come from?

The Waterworld of Michael Dudok de Wit

Interview: The Endlessly Fascinating Waterworld of the Man Behind the Red Turtle

His short animation The Monk and the Fish was nominated for an Oscar. His short animation Father and Daughter won an Oscar. But Father and Daughter also won – actually a much greater honor – the admiration of the legendary Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli. ‘Can’t you make a long film for us,’ they mailed in 20061)Studio Ghibli did not work previously with a non-Japanese animator, but still pulled out – together with French film distributor Wild Bunch ...continue. The Red Turtle was born.

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1. Studio Ghibli did not work previously with a non-Japanese animator, but still pulled out – together with French film distributor Wild Bunch – millions of euros to let Dudok de Wit – together with dozens of animators – work in complete freedom on his dreamed of first long animation.

Michael Dudok De Wit Interview: The Importance of Acceptance

The Red Turtle received the nomination for Animated Feature Film for Oscars 2017 and recently won an Annie Award. With the 89th Academy Awards coming up next week, I decided to translate another interview with director Michael Dudok de Wit, with another one coming up later on. In this interview Dudok de Wit talks about the theme of acceptance in the film. It’s a rather personal interview, which touches upon his childhood, among other things.

De Lagarde originally conducted this interview and published it on their website on July 7, 2016. If you can read Dutch, please click here to read the interview in its original language.

Interview: Michael Dudok de Wit (The Red Turtle)

The Importance of Acceptance‘In elementary school, my teacher called me Karel Appel1)Karel Appel (1921-2006) Dutch painter, sculptor, and poet., because I always drew. My three brothers did the same as well, but perhaps a little less obsessive. I could immerse myself in it, forgot everything around me, including what was being said and taught. I wasn’t very good at school. Fortunately, my parents weren’t too upset about it. My mother herself was artistic. I still remember – I must have been very young then – that she once made a drawing of one of our bantams2)A small variety of poultry, especially chickens.. I can still see it before me, so beautiful and detailed. She was an artist at heart. But she chose to be a good spouse and mother. It had been very nice for me, but there’s no doubt that she must have struggled with that choice sometimes.‘

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Notes   [ + ]

1. Karel Appel (1921-2006) Dutch painter, sculptor, and poet.
2. A small variety of poultry, especially chickens.

The Red Turtle Interview with Michael Dudok de Wit: “Loneliness Will Drive You Crazy”

This interview with The Red Turtle director Michael Dudok de Wit was originally published on July, 2016 in the NRC. If you can read Dutch, please head over to NRC.nl to read the interview in its original language. In addition I also highly recommend watching the documentary “Het verlangen van Michael Dudok de Wit“.

‘Loneliness Will Drive You Crazy’

Michael Dudok de Wit’s film ‘The Red Turtle’ for the Japanese animation studio Ghibli was to Cannes’ liking.

The Red Turtle
The Red Turtle by Dutch director Michael Dudok de Wit: “I did not draw along on purpose, I would have slowed down the process.”

July 6, 2016: Why did that enormous red turtle repeatedly destroy the raft that the castaway wanted to use to escape from his tropical island? An island with fresh water, bamboo, fruits and clams, but without any company?

“The man who inspired Robinson Crusoe had suffered greatly. Loneliness will literally drive people crazy,” the 52 year old Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit said on the roof terrace of Club Silencio in Cannes. Just now, his first long animation film The Red Turtle was praised, even welcomed with applause by the film press, and won a special jury award.

Surely he kept a turtle as a little boy? Indeed, he smiled. “A beautiful type of loneliness lurks inside a turtle. She shuffles onto the beach on her own, lays eggs and once again disappears in the sea. God knows where she goes. It’s not a social animal, but the swim movements appear very human-like. I don’t want to be too philosophical about it, it’s more of a feeling. The turtle doesn’t let the man return to civilization, but I believe the nature is also our home. I hope that you as the viewer also experiences the same.”

Anyone who sees The Red Turtle understands why the famous Japanese animation studio Ghibli approached Michael Dudok de Wit to direct their first non-Japanese feature film. A gentle, sensitive man. “He hovers a little above the ground,” a colleague said in a documentary that the VPRO broadcast yesterday evening. Ghibli admired his Oscar-winning short film Father and Daughter, and he admired Ghibli. Particularly the work of the 75 year old maestro Hayao Miyazaki.

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The Red Turtle Director: “It Had to Be an Auteur Film”

I created Story Unlocker with an intention of translating Japanese interviews with Japanese creators, but I want to make an exception for the director of The Red Turtle, Michael Dudok de Wit. This Dutch news article was originally published at NRC.nl on May 11, 2016. The article provides an insight on the role of Studio Ghibli in the production process.

It’s a rare opportunity for me to translate from my native language on this site. This news article is quite short, so please consider it as a “preview” to a translation of a longer interview which will be posted later this month. Of course, if you can read Dutch, please head over to NRC.nl to read the news article in its original language. I also highly recommend watching the documentary “Het verlangen van Michael Dudok de Wit“.

Dutchman debuts in Cannes with an animation film

Michael Dudok de Wit comes to Cannes, which starts tonight, with his animation film ‘The Red Turtle’.

The Red Turtle
In Michael Dudok de Wit’s Japanese-French animation film ‘The Red Turtle’ a stranded man on an uninhabited island attempts to return to civilization.

May 11, 2016: How he started working for the legendary animation studio Ghibli? It all began with a somewhat complimentary letter in 2006, Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit remembers. He shook the hands of maestros Isao Takahata (80) and Hayao Miyazaki (75) once. Now they asked if he wanted to make a feature film with Ghibli. “I asked: why me? Who else did you ask? But they wanted me.”Continue reading

Hatsuno Sei x Ooya Hiroko Dialogue Part 3: What’s next for HaruChika?

What's next for HaruChika?
What’s next for HaruChika?

This is the third and last part of the dialogue between HaruChika author Hatsuno Sei and book reviewer Ooya Hiroko. The author talks about the use of social minorities in his works and the next developments in HaruChika. Translated from the article at honto.jp on March 30, 2016.

Longing for an utopia filled with heavy themes

Ooya: HaruChika is a humor mystery which can make you laugh out loud, however, it continues to handle heavy themes such as illness, the elderly and disabilities quite a lot.

Hatsuno: It doesn’t mean they’re “pitiful” just because of that. I hate looking down on them and being satisfied with the status quo. So I write them without that kind of impression. In “Frequency: 77.4 MHz” (included in First Love Sommelier), didn’t the elderly men and women seem like they were having fun? Those people live doing as they please, and don’t involve young people with suspicious philosophical views. Instead of that, they take a philosophic views that make you laugh.

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