Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Wind Rises

Year of Release:  2013
Director:  Hayao Miyazaki
Screenplay:  Hayao Miyazaki, based on the manga Kaze Tachinu by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring:  Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishjima, Masahiko Nishimura, Stephen Alpert, Morio Kazama
Running Time:  126 minutes
Genre:  animation, biography

This animated film from acclaimed writer/director Hayao Miyazaki, tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi (Anno), who dreams of flying, and aware that he can never become a pilot due to his poor eyesight, decides to become an aeroplane designer, under the influence of celebrated Italian aircraft designer Count Caproni (Alpert).

The film tells Horikoshi's story from childhood until the end of World War II, taking in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and his doomed romance with the beautiful Naoko (Takimoto). This is a beautiful film, featuring some of the most stunning animation to be seen on screen. The film shows one of the main dichotomies of Miyazaki's work, an avowed pacifist, he has a fascination with the machinery of war, particularly aircraft.  The film depicts flight as a "cursed dream" evolving from pure, honorable motives, but corrupted for military purposes.

This shows the ability of animated film to depict drama in a way that live action film can't.  Moving between Horikoshi's dreams and reality, it's vibrant images make the past come alive.  It may be too slow-moving for some, and it's debatable how close it sticks to the real story (I'm no expert on the real story, but by all accounts it does take liberties with Jiro Horikoshi's real life), but it is a beautiful and powerful film, with a stunningly moving climax.  Miyazaki has said that he was inspired to make the film by a statement from Jiro Horikoshi that "All I wanted to do was create something beautiful."  By which criteria this film is a resounding success.      

Jiro and Naoko in The Wind Rises

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