Kind of a Crane Wife / Tales from the Darkside gargoyle variant with a turtle twist. Man washes up on a bamboo forest island, and is thwarted by a giant red turtle whenever he tries to build an escape boat. One day the turtle waddles ashore and the angry man flips it over. Then it becomes a human woman, they have a kid together, avoid natural disasters, the kid grows up and goes off into the ocean, the man gets old and dies, and finally she turns back into a turtle and leaves. Turtle/human spawning / cycle-of-life business, done with very attractive (wordless) animation. Some cute sand crabs, too. I also rewatched Father and Daughter and The Monk and the Fish with Katy, finally available in HD.

Chuck Bowen:

The man’s one murderous impulse begets a life of empathy — of balance. A heartbreaking, astonishingly poetic ending further challenges our human-centric absorption, suggesting that this rhapsodic life of paradise wasn’t the man’s dream, but the turtle’s.

Isabel Stevens in BFI:

Pictures are the film’s currency and they are, without exaggeration, sublime … The attention to detail shown to the sky (its magic-hour glow tinging the whole island), water (grey and angry one moment, an azure palimpsest the next), even the sand (at times you can see the grains in what looks like a smudge of charcoal) is quite extraordinary. The film is a masterclass in chiaroscuro: shadows are just as intricately sketched as the life forms that cause them. Even from a distance, a bottle washed up on the beach has a lighter shadow than a human’s. A lot of digital animation, with its blocks of colour, can feel flat. But the depth and texture on show here – conjured from a surge of pencil marks and watercolour washes – is remarkable.

Cannes Month isn’t over until I say it is. Michaël Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle premiered two weeks ago to absolute raves (an A+ from indiewire) so I’m checking out his shorts.

The Monk and the Fish (1994)

A monk goes out of his damn mind trying to catch a fish. Great motion and poses, and this movie does one of my favorite things, having the main character always move to music. I believe it ends with the monk reaching a spiritual oneness with the fish. Won the César, nominated for the oscar.

Tom Sweep (1992)

Found in low quality on streaming sites – a proto-Monk/Fish short, with beleaguered bin-man Tom’s garbage-collecting movements set to music.

Father and Daughter (2000)

A terribly beautiful story about a girl whose father sets off in a rowboat and doesn’t return. Won the Oscar and the Bafta and the BAA and the Annecy and the Zagreb and deserved them all, although I certainly didn’t think so on oscar night when I was rooting for Don Hertzfeldt’s Rejected.

The Aroma of Tea (2006)

A dot moves rhythmically through painted patterns, again set to music. Aha, it was painted with tea.