The Red Turtle (2016)

by Michael Dudok de WitIf you have yet to be acquainted with Studio Ghibli productions, please take a look through our collection now. (You’ll find that The Red Turtle is quite different from the rest of Studio Ghibli’s productions though, as the story and screenplay were by Michael Dudok de Wit, and the style makes me think Studio Ghibli played a slightly more minor role in this production than in their other animations. That being said, the moment I saw the trailer for The Red Turtle, I immediately recognized those waves – Ghibli had its hand in there somewhere, even if it was so very different from what I had come to expect in terms of style. )

While this film will likely leave you with more questions than you entered with, as well as make you wonder if you’re overanalyzing the plot, and possible symbols, or if you should simply take it as it is, it’s well worth watching this slow and quiet epic, and it ages quite well as you return to it. There are no words throughout, though there is some frustrated screaming into the ocean – and I know that Shaun the Sheep was much praised for the same thing (being wordless, that is, not for its screaming into the ocean), but this is a different use of wordless animation that will probably appeal more to adult audiences – so you end up relying a lot on the beautiful soundtrack, though even in the moments with neither music nor words, the sound of the trees rustling, hurried breathing, a panicked noise, are more than enough to relay the emotions within each scene.

The Red Turtle hasn’t been released on DVD/Blu-ray yet, but it’s still playing (at the time of writing this post) at the TIFF, so go see it if you get the chance!

Here are some other films that you might like if you’re either thinking of seeing this or enjoyed it:

  1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  2. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
  3. From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
  4. Ernest and Celestine (2014)

Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story @ the ROM

Royal Ontario Museum has a special exhibition on the largest creature on earth: blue whale. This exhibition is important not only in terms of global research on this mysterious animal, but also, it is a story close to home for Canadians; the exhibition showcases a Canadian effort on preservation and study of species.

Image result for blue whale exhibition at ROMHere is the background story:

In 2014, 9 blue whales were trapped and died on the coast of Newfoundland. Their loss represents about 3% of the Northwest Atlantic’s blue whale population; in Canada that’s almost equivalent to the human population of Saskatchewan. Blue whales usually sink when they die, but in an unusual occurrence two of the blue whales washed ashore in Trout River and Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, offering an unprecedented opportunity for research.

A team of researchers and staff from the ROM salvaged one of the whales, preserved its bone and its heart, which was a first time internationally.

Image result for blue whale exhibition at ROMThis exhibition is very well put together; it is both informative and interactive. In addition, it is aesthetically pleasing. I was in awe when I saw the complete skeleton of the blue whale in the middle of the room. It really made me aware of the world that we live in, and I cannot help but feeling so small. I learned a lot about these majestic giants, and the hard and often less celebrated work that put into exhibitions like this by scientists and researchers.

This exhibition is enjoyable to all ages and I recommend you to check it out. Out of the Depths will be at the ROM until September 4th, 2017.

Link to this special exhibition: https://www.rom.on.ca/en/blue-whale

Related reads:

The Blue Whale

Blackfish

The Whale: in Search of the Giants of the Sea

Whale

 

As Red as Blood

Salla SimukkaHave you noticed a pattern anywhere in my posts?

Now that I’m looking right at the cover, I’m a little bit confused: the silhouette looks Tinkerbell-esque, and she is most certainly not from a Grimms fairy tale. That’s not important though. In fact, although there are plenty of fairytale references throughout, including (of course) Snow White, in large part in reference to the protagonist Lumikki, who is named after Snow White, the storyline itself isn’t very fairytale-like (apart from the fantastical elements – not fantasy, mind you).

Fast-paced, with a clear progression of events, As Red as Blood keeps you hooked from beginning to end and is a promising beginning to a trilogy. We do not yet own the next two books of the trilogy, As White as Snow and As Black as Ebony, but I’m looking forward to reading them!

(Spoiler alert under the cut!)

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