Set on an apparently tropical island, The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) exalts the cycle of life and celebrates the beauty of nature. Yet this dialogue-free animated fable could hardly be more anthropocentric.
The man around whom the film revolves is introduced literally at sea, battling to survive the stormy waves of a slate-colored ocean. The sketchily drawn, button-eyed survivor soon washes up on a remote isle. It's inhabited mostly by insects and crustaceans -- the sand crabs provide low-key comic relief -- although sometimes a larger creature comes ashore.
Water and food are available, and shelter is not an issue, since the climate is warm. Nonetheless, the castaway endeavors to leave, building a succession of rafts that are quickly destroyed by an unseen force. Eventually, the man encounters the creature that's preventing his escape. It's a gigantic red turtle.
Soon after, somehow, a woman appears. The pretty redhead's arrival reconciles the exile to remaining on the island, and the couple raises a son. The trio's existence is the human family in microcosm, without any pesky siblings or in-laws. It could be said, though, that the sea turtles that offer assistance during emergencies are cousins.