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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Miura Shion Interview Part 3: Karma and Romance Swirl in the World of Dictionaries

Miura Shion is the writer of Fune wo Amu (2011) otherwise also known as The Great Passage. The anime adaptation recently started airing on Fuji Television’s noitaminA block. For this reason I decided to translate an interview with the author over the course of the next couple of months while the anime is airing. The interview consists of eleven parts; this is the third part on karma in the dictionary world. Please go to part one “Encountering a Dictionary” to start reading the interview from the beginning.

Editor-in-chief Araki shows Majime into the reference room.
Editor-in-chief Araki shows Majime into the reference room.

Karma and Romance Swirl in the World of Dictionaries

The journey to reach that place is far. Moreover, the so-called feeling that there are countless of routes, manifests into the existence of plenty dictionaries in this world.

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

A Look into Yanagi Kouji’s Workspace

Two months ago I posted an interview with Yanagi Kouji on the Joker Game novel series. It goes deeper into the series’ latest installment “Last Waltz”. This post features a short interview on one of his stand-alone novels “Knight & Shadow”. However, it’s actually more about his lifestyle and cats… err, workspace.

Yanagi Kouji’s international strategy novel “Knight & Shadow” depicts the theme ‘first class man’

Yanagi Kouji and one of his cats
Yanagi Kouji and one of his cats

The paperback edition of Yanagi Kouji’s “Knight & Shadow” went on sale the other day. We conducted this interview around the time of the hardcover edition release (July 2014).

“My hobby is moving residences,” Yanagi Kouji-san said. His current house is the sixth one since his debut thirteen years ago. “I only work at home, so when I reach a dead end, I move houses and refresh my mood.”

He loves reading so much that he says: “I cannot live without reading books. If there are books at my workplace, I read them against my better judgment and end up not doing my work.” Because of this he puts all of his books in an archive, with the exception of books for reference. His book collection is a careful selection of approximately 3,000 books of which Yanagi says he “repeatedly reads in particular”. That point “books which may be read any number of times” is certainly also an aim for him as a writer.

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Miura Shion Interview Part 2: Comparing Dictionaries

Miura Shion is the writer of Fune wo Amu (2011) otherwise also known as The Great Passage. Starting from October 14, an anime adaptation will be broadcast on the noitaminA block. For this reason I decided to translate an interview with the author over the course of the next couple of months while the anime is airing. The interview consists of eleven parts; this is the second part on comparing dictionaries. Please go to the previous post “Encountering a Dictionary” to start reading the interview from the beginning.

Comparing Dictionaries
A still from Fune wo Amu (The Great Passage) film (2013) directed by Ishii Yuya.

Comparing Dictionaries

I released myself from rigidly perceiving words and having thought patterns like “There definitely has to be an answer. There must be a right answer”. In a good way I got over it myself too and became more at ease.

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