“The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!”
I had been desperate to see this film for nearly a year as I am a huge fan of the Studio Ghibli films. When I travelled to Tokyo last summer “The Wind Rises” was showing in Japanese cinemas so there were posters all over the city advertising this film. I also visited the Studio Ghibli museum (which is incredible by the way for any fan of the films!)
Furthermore, it was announced that this would be the 11th and final film directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Creator of Studio Ghibli and the director of the Oscar winning “Spirited Away” as well as many other amazing films including my personal favourite Ghibli film “Howl’s Moving Castle”. As i’m such a huge Miyazaki fan I ended up traveling from Plymouth to Exeter to see “The Wind Rises” on its opening day in the UK (9th May). I saw the Japanese version with English Subtitles, I would love to see the dubbed version too at some point.
The film itself is a tribute to the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a young aeronautical engineer who designed Japanese fighter planes during the Second World War (most notably the Mitsubishi A6M Zero) The film documents key historical events in Japan such as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and part of Japan’s involvement in the war. I think one of the main successes of this film is that like many of Hayao Miyazaki’s films that touch on the subject of war it does not glorify war. If anything, it is anti-war. To quote the English subtitled trailer the film is most focussed on “how did Japan’s youth survive at such a time?” It’s a very human approach to the time and as an animation is absolutely stunning. There was controversy over the film in Japan, some saying it was “Anti-Japanese” and that Miyazaki is a “traitor” due to it’s anti-war stance. Hayao Miyazaki said in 2011 that he was inspired to make the film due to a quote he read by Jiro Horikoshi that said “All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful”. Which is definitely the main theme. Whilst in the film Jiro is clearly a pacifist, he continues to pursue his dream either in denial or not realising the devastating consequences of his work which I believe is very reflective of the time as well as being incredibly human.
To conclude, “The Wind Rises” is incredibly beautiful and a really different perspective on Japan at the time. A brilliant film for Hayao Miyazaki to retire on even if I will miss his great work!