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Turning Red

Directed by Domee Shi
United States, 2022 (animation / children's, 100 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Alerte rouge", "Crvena panda", "Keď sa červenám", "Over de rooie", "Pirula Panda", "Proměna", "Punainen", "Raudonoji panda", "Rød", "Red", "Red: Crescer é uma Fera", "Rot", "To nie wypanda", "Turning Red: Estranhamente Vermelho"

Film Description:
"Young actress Rosalie Chiang lends her voice to Mei Lee, a 13-year-old who suddenly 'poofs' into a giant red panda when she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS). Sandra Oh voices Mei Lee's protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming, who is never far from her daughter—an unfortunate reality for the teenager."
-- Disney (source)

Film Description [in French] :
"Alerte Rouge de Disney et Pixar présente Mei Lee, une adolescente de 13 ans qui hésite entre obéir ou sombrer dans le chaos de l'adolescence. Malheureusement, Ming sa mère n'est jamais loin d'elle. Et comme si les changements dans ses relations et son corps n'étaient pas assez, Mei Lee devient un grand panda rouge quand elle s'enthousiasme !"
-- Disney (source)


Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Julia Cho, Domee Shi
Produced by: Lindsey Collins, Pete Docter, Dan Scanlon
Principal Cast: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, James Hong, Sasha Roiz, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Jordan Fisher, Wai Ching Ho, Finneas O'Connell, Lori Tan Chinn, Sherry Cola, Lily Sanfelippo, Ava Morse, Orion Lee, Anne-Marie, Addie Chandler, Hyein Park, Tristan Allerick Chen, Ho-Wai Ching, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva, Mia Tagano, Lillian Lim
Cinematography: Mahyar Abousaeedi, Jonathan Pytko
Film Editing: Steve Bloom, Nicholas C. Smith
Music: Ludwig Göransson
Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
(sources)

Quotes by the Director

"[Having an all-female leadership team for Turning Red] made us bolder in our choices and the story. [...] We never shied away from telling those uncomfortable, cringy, awkward details of girl adolescence because a lot of us have experienced it. So any time one of us would be hesitant to include a scene, there would be a chorus of women going, 'no, push it more! You remember how it felt! Make the audience feel that way too!'"
-- Domee Shi (source)

"I feel this responsibility to share with the world and non-Asian audiences Mei's life, her household and her community. One of the scenes I love most [in Turning Red] is a small scene near the beginning, where they're at home and Mei is making dumplings with her mom and watching a Cantonese soap opera on TV. Her dad's cooking in the kitchen in the background. It's a small slice-of-life moment, but it was so cool that we were able to share this snapshot of Asian North American life and bring it to the world."
-- Domee Shi (source)

"I was born in Chongqing in China and immigrated to Toronto in Canada when I was two years old. Like Meilin [in Turning Red], I am an only child, and I was always very close to my parents, especially my mum, since my dad had to go away often for work. We were like two peas in a pod, and we literally did everything together. Then, as all kids do, I started to grow up. I started changing, and I started getting into anime and comics. She did not understand why I was obsessed with these anime characters and why I drew them over and over again in my sketchbook, with their huge eyes and strange, colourful hair. I started hanging out more with my friends and less with my mum. I was being pulled one way, but my duty, and my love for my parents, was pulling me another way. Turning Red is inspired by this universal struggle of growing up and figuring out how to handle that push and pull."
-- Domee Shi (source)

"[In Turning Red] I wanted Mei to go through a magical puberty transformation, and I couldn't get the image of a red panda out of my head because it's so cute and funny, especially if you blow it up to, like, eight feet tall. There's something about the color, too. Red represents your period. It represents being angry, being embarrassed or being very lustful for someone."
-- Domee Shi (source)

"The colors of Sailor Moon and magical girl anime, we were hugely inspired by that. There's just something so romantic and dreamy about those color palettes of those anime from the '90s that I really wanted to capture in the movie [Turning Red]."
-- Domee Shi (source)

"We just wanted to be as honest as possible [in Turning Red] about what a teenage girl goes through. She gets her period and gets horribly embarrassed. She goes down lusty drawing spirals under her bed. She sweatily ogles and objectifies boys with her friends. And the fact we were able to just sit around, this group of women, trading ­stories about all of these things in this completely matter-of-fact way really helped. "
-- Domee Shi (source)

"When I was first asked to pitch three ideas as a feature film, I knew all of them were going to be girl coming-of-age stories. I was really passionate and wanting to make a story to help girls Mei's age and guide them through this tumultuous time in their lives. [In Turning Red] I really wanted to dive deeper into that mother-daughter relationship, especially from the point of view of an Asian kid, and really explored that nuance of how she looks up to her mom. She loves her mom; she actually genuinely is her best friend in the beginning of the movie, and they enjoy spending time together. But then she's changing; nature setting in, she's changing, and she's getting all of these new feelings and new interests. She's starting to get into boy bands and hanging out with her friends more, and she doesn't know how to deal with that. The red panda comes in and just brings her struggle to the surface. I thought that was just a really a juicy topic to explore."
-- Domee Shi (source)

Quotes by the Director [in French]

"C'est inspiré de mon propre parcours en tant que jeune ado impressionnable et un peu nerd. J'étais celle qui était tiraillée entre la volonté d'être la fille parfaite et ces poussées d'hormones qui faisaient que je me disputais avec ma mère chaque jour. Faire ce film [Turning Red} a été ma manière de remonter le temps et de revisiter ce qui se passait à cette époque de mon propre point de vue, mais aussi de celui de ma mère."
-- Domee Shi (source)

"Je voulais ausculter ce moment pivot entre l'enfance et l'adolescence où les relations se complexifient et se tendent entre rejetons et parents. Un rien embarrasse, rend maladroit. On ne reconnaît plus son corps qui se transforme. On se dispute. Les activités qui nous amusaient nous ennuient. Quoi de plus approprié qu'un animal velu au pelage rouge qui transpire. C'est pour moi la couleur de l'adolescence, celle des joues qui deviennent cramoisies et des menstruations."
-- Domee Shi (source)

Quotes about Turning Red

"[Domee] Shi and her co-writer, Julia Cho, play deftly if sometimes exaggeratedly with the figure of the Asian tiger mom, pushing Ming to an outlandish comic extreme early on when she publicly humiliates Mei after a misunderstanding. You might scoff or wince at that moment (I did a little of both), which occupies that perplexing zone where truth and stereotype meet. But you might also appreciate the cultural dimension that makes Mei's mortification so personal. Helicopter parents and rebellious kids clash every day, but it's specifically Ming's Chinese-ness, her perceived outsider status, that gives her 'psycho mom' reputation such a sharp sting. And so while Turning Red has the fanciful, farcical complications you might recognize from other Pixar movies—supernatural twists, clever coincidences—its busy narrative machinery is driven by the inordinate pressure Mei feels to keep her worlds separate. Here, the horrors of bodily transformation and the challenges of cultural assimilation become one and the same."
-- Justin Chang (source)

"What I tried to do was to make sure Ming was just as well balanced (as) Mei. Ming is fully real and human as a mom, so you're not only seeing her through Mei's perspective but also having a larger perspective on who (Ming) is and why she's protective."
-- Julia Cho (source)

"Shi's film [Turning Red] uses the onset of Mei's magical puberty, sensitively and playfully, as a catalyst for cringe comedy. It works as beautifully as it does because the film's comedy has been machined with Swiss precision, and all of its characters written with obvious love: the closest thing it has to villains are two well-meaning but fallible parents. Visual flourishes are seamlessly swiped from Japanese anime, from hand-drawn panic lines to hilarious crash-zooms, while the slapstick is poetry: weighted, inventive and rhythmically perfect."
-- Robbie Collin (source)

"Girls and women are always judged for not controlling their emotions—ugh, she's so emotional. I love that [in Turning Red] we have a main character who is learning over time that she doesn't have to push emotions away or get rid of them to be considered a good girl or a good woman. The movie is ultimately about being able to own your emotions."
-- Lindsey Collins (source)

"[Domee] Shi [...] is actually the first solo woman to helm a Pixar feature [Turning Red], which may be why its portrayal of girlhood on the verge feels as true as it does, even as a cartoon; she captures the tsunami of heightened feelings that makes everything matter so much in adolescence, without judging or making fun. She also roots Mei's story engagingly in family ritual—the Lees hand-shaping dumplings for dinner or lighting incense for their ancestors as a matter of course, not calculated exoticism or lesson-teaching."
-- Leah Greenblatt (source)

"Mei is one of Pixar's most fully realized human characters—a truly singular creation that feels real, lived-in and utterly relatable (even if you didn't grow up with her particular Toronto/supernatural circumstances). Turning Red delivers on almost every other level, too. The voice performances are warm and wonderful ([Sandra] Oh is particularly strong as a mother who both cannot and desperately needs to give her child space), the humour sharp (younger viewers will likely be in hysterics over Mei's poofy, furry transformations) and the action epic (there is a scene set inside the SkyDome—not yet the Rogers Centre, thank god—that is genuinely thrilling)."
-- Barry Hertz (source)

"One of the most entertaining things about Turning Red is its many shout-outs to Toronto and Canadians. For once, Toronto isn't playing another city. The CN Tower is in many scenes and TTC streetcars (the old, shorter kind) trundle along squeaky-clean roads. We see Daisy Mart shops, Tim Hortons doughnuts, a bobble-headed moose, Ontario licence plates and colourful Canadian dollars. We hear a reference to Céline Dion and see a blue jay—the avian kind, not the baseball kind."
-- Peter Howell (source)

"The early-2000s Toronto setting, wherein the city itself is flattered by the neon-and-pastel color scheme, allows [Domee] Shi and co-writer Julia Cho to embellish an essentially straightforward story with all sorts of lovingly observed, insidery details: the noughties fashions, the tamagotchi craze, the ancestor-worship traditions Ming upholds, the genuinely mouthwatering food-prep scenes courtesy of Mei's quiet, kindly dad (Orion Lee). And even if the character design does not feel particularly new for Pixar doing its 'real-world' schtick, the faces seem to have reached new heights of expressivity and subtlety, while the choreography—so crisp in its comic timing—has to be some of the best the animation giant has ever delivered. It does make it a bit of a shame that Turning Red is going straight to streaming, especially come the ridiculous stadium-set finale in which scale is of the essence."
-- Jessica Kiang (source)

"The Toronto of Turning Red is specific to 2002, when [Domee] Shi was 13. [...] To engross themselves in the particularities of Y2K-era Toronto, the art team and production designer Rona Liu reproduced old TTC Metropass designs and retro streetcar models."
-- Emily Landau (source)

"The journey is slick and diverting, and at times incisive, but Turning Red is yet another Pixar film that coasts rather than glides."
-- Benjamin Lee (source)

"Disney/Pixar are understandably proud of what Turning Red represents, but questions remain. Why has it taken 25 movies for Pixar to get to this point? Isn't it depressing that [Domee] Shi came to be the first solely credited female Pixar director only because Brave's Brenda Chapman was unceremoniously dumped from the 2012 film midway through its production? And isn't it strange that Turning Red has been shunted to Disney+ rather than getting a cinema release?"
-- Clarisse Loughrey, Adam White (source)

"As in Turning Red, Bao explores the pain mothers feel when they see their child growing up and needing them less. The films also show that for Chinese immigrant mothers, the pain is twofold—as the child becomes independent, they also become less Chinese. In Bao, the dumpling son begins dating a white girl. In Turning Red, Mei nurtures a secret mania for a boy band her mother fears will make her sweet, innocent child grow up too fast."
-- John Lui (source)

"Teenage coming-of-age stories do not come much sweeter, or honour girlhood more, than this animated feature from Pixar [Turning Red]. In this tale of Mei Lee, a teen cursed—or perhaps blessed—with shape-shifting powers, the girls are never catty, nor do they form cliques. Their support for one another is unstinting."
-- John Lui (source)

"It's new territory for a Pixar movie to make references to menstruation [...] but [Domee] Shi and screenwriter Julia Cho present a sweet, graceful ode to growing up. I watched wishing Turning Red could be watched on an enormous screen—there are scenes as lovely as any Pixar classic, particularly a fantasy sequence involving an ancient scroll—and that movies like this had been around when I was Mei's age. We've all got an inner beast, Shi reminds us, and taming it isn't too hard—as long as you have friends (and boy bands) on your side."
-- Moira Macdonald (source)

"Of all the 'firsts' that distinguish this latest Pixar instalment (first to be directed solely by a woman; first to feature a female Asian lead; first to be set in Canada) the most significant is dropped into frame roughly ten minutes in. It's a packet of sanitary towels, rendered in close-up and eagerly held by Ming Lee (Sandra Oh, Killing Eve) the overprotective 'Tiger mom' of the 13-year-old protagonist Mei (Rosalie Chiang). The shot—the first of menstrual products in a Pixar animation—is as significant as the first shot of a flushing toilet in Hollywood cinema, from Hitchcock's Psycho in 1960. And like that cutaway, which Hitch made vital to the plot (evidence is being flushed), the pads in Turning Red are crucial to the wider narrative."
-- Kevin Maher (source)

"Ever since Disney consigned Pixar's Soul, and then Luca, to streaming on its premium platform without a theatrical release, there's been reason to fear the downgrading of a brand that has served for almost three decades as the movie industry's gold standard of quality. Turning Red won't play in theaters either, except for a special engagement at Disney's flagship El Capitan on Hollywood Boulevard. That's a pity for a film that would have looked great on a big screen, but it's a top-drawer Pixar production all the same—specific in its cultural details, and valuable at a time when people of Asian descent are once again victims of hate crimes, yet universal in its emotional range and comedic appeal."
-- Joe Morgenstern (source)

"No matter what parents think about the movie [Turning Red], the plot validates the kinds of struggles kids often face during adolescence and provides fodder for meaningful conversations. 'It can speak to many children in many different family circumstances,' Dr. [Charissa ] Cheah said. 'And using it as a point of discussion to cover a whole range of topics—I think that's really useful."
-- Melinda Wenner Moyer (source)

"Hopefully this film [Turning Red] ... gives the experience to [people] just like Mei that you are the hero, a 13-year-old Chinese girl is a hero."
-- Sandra Oh (source)

"Pixar's latest [Turning Red] is a magical coming-of-age romp that celebrates females of all ages (as well as nice dads and bootilicious boys). It's crammed with ingeniously surreal visuals, has three cheeky songs written by Billie Eilish and Finneas, and features a delightfully sardonic performance from Killing Eve's Sandra Oh. So why aren't Disney giving it a cinematic release (it can only be seen on Disney+)? Could it be that the Mouse House is embarrassed by a kids' movie that contains the best red herring of the year? Director Domee Shi [...] has found a way to explore several taboo topics, including the messy business of menstruation."
-- Charlotte O'Sullivan (source)

"When it comes down to the movie's conflict, the antagonists are the women in Mei's family. Or, more accurately, the suffocating cultural traditions and familial expectations that are embodied by the women. The fact that Mei's grandmother gets the kind of shady introductory scene that you'd expect of the head honcho in a mobster flick, and that these women share the red panda affliction, means they fall into a formula of cold, emotionless Asian women. Is the film tackling the stereotype or fulfilling it? The line is too blurry to tell. By the end, a bit of understanding, empathy and a pandapocalypse reassures us that the stoic Asian dames aren't the source of the problem but also victims, like Mei. Though I wonder what the movie [Turning Red] would look like if the conflict wasn't enacted solely in the form of these women."
-- Maya Phillips (source)

"Led by [Rosalie] Chiang, the voice cast [of Turning Red] is sensational, bringing to life characters who get to be cranky, frantic, caring, and occasionally 'kind of a perv.' But the most remarkable thing about this movie is how it marks a maturity for Disney animation. For decades, Disney sold little girls polished princess fantasies to sell toys. But in that, they also sold an idea of girlhood that was woefully limiting. Here, the fantasy has an element of body horror but is treated with a jocular touch that makes Turning Red an absolute blast. In giving us a protagonist who is confident, kooky, but also a mess, Disney and Pixar gave kids a role model who rejects convention and is better for it—and better for us."
-- Kristy Puchko (source)

"[Turning Red] is the rare Pixar product that actually engages with puberty in a meaningful way, even referencing menstruation, something I can't remember popping up in any previous cartoon under the Disney umbrella ('Did the red peony bloom?' Ming nervously asks when Mei first barricades herself inside the bathroom in her panda form)."
-- David Sims (source)

Quotes about Turning Red [in French]

"Habilement tissé, le scénario touche à tous les aspects du passage à l'adolescence, s'attardant avec beaucoup d'émotion et de poésie sur les liens qui unissent les femmes de différentes générations. Et, comme Âme, le film [Alerte rouge] s'adresse à tous les publics—enfants comme adultes—et promet d'élargir les horizons de bien des jeunes. Avec Alerte rouge, Domee Shi confirme son immense talent et sa capacité à raconter des histoires originales qui nous touchent et nous rappellent que oui, nous avons toutes les raisons d'être fières d'être une petite fille, puis une adolescente, puis une femme. Merci."
-- Isabelle Hontebeyrie (source)

"À défaut d'être toujours conséquente avec sa propre logique interne (la mère ne devrait absolument pas être surprise par la tournure des événements), Alerte rouge multiplie les péripéties tour à tour tendres et cocasses. L'intrigue va là où l'on s'attend qu'elle aille, mais plusieurs surprises et trouvailles surviennent en chemin. Qui plus est, l'héritage culturel de Domee Shi enrichit considérablement son film, auquel elle insuffle une énergie contagieuse et une inventivité visuelle appréciable."
-- François Lévesque (source)

"Comme on le voit dans le film [Turning Red], il y a une grande diversité culturelle à Toronto. C'est la mosaïque de la ville et celle du film. En tant qu'adulte, c'est excitant de voir que tu es enfin représenté. Pour les enfants, j'espère que ce ne sera plus hors de l'ordinaire."
-- Sandra Oh (source)

"Je crois que Turning Red montre un point de vue qu'il est important de présenter. J'aime la relation entre Ming et sa fille Mei. Pour beaucoup d'entre nous, qui avons des origines asiatiques, l'équilibre à atteindre pour être loyaux envers nos parents et envers nous-mêmes est très délicat. L'exprimer de façon aussi accessible, par l'entremise d'un film de Pixar, est une réelle célébration. Je suis heureuse que cela survienne enfin."
-- Sandra Oh (source)

Bibliography for Turning Red

Articles from Newspapers, Magazines, or News Websites

Web Sites about Turning Red


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