This was the tremendous news among the movie industry this year revealed in Venice film Festival; THE WIND RISES (Kaze Tachinu) is the last master piece released from the Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. Just for this simple reason you have to watch this movie. Not only because we liked his former movies like MONONOKE HIME, SPIRITED AWAY, HOW’S MOVING CASTLE and many others but also because THE WIND RISES is particularly thoughtful and different.
First of all, as you may expect, you will watch amazing animated scenes. Among all of them, there is one particularly knockout and stunning which relates the Great Kanto earthquake in Tokyo in 1923. With the streets of the city completely distorted, you feel this incredibly violent and stressfull shaking waves. Thanks to Miyazaki’s talent, the animation is used so cleverly, you are following Koji character fighting for his life and his dreams.
Indeed, major disaster scenes can be very efficiant and huge in movies like THE DAY AFTER, 2012, or THE IMPOSSIBLE, movies which used natural desasters more like a showing off display than something meaningful for the story like in THE WIND RISES. From the visuals to the sound effects, you are completely drag into the mood.
Moreover, what I particulary liked, is how the Japanese people is represented with their culture and their traditions. Indeed, in this scene, it shows how those people are resilient and up to move on to go on after such disaster. From an european point of view, these nuances help a lot to understand the characters subtilities and Japanese history and culture.
Then, this movie is very specific as you realize it is a true story and an autobiography as well. This double reading is very interesting and moving at the same time. Considering Miyazaki personality, you can imagine the difficulty to open up about himself. What a better way to do so through his art and his movies? When you were more used to be immersed in his abundant imagination, here, you actually face his own reality, fragilities and creativity that build his complexity.
The movie depicts Jiro Horikoshi’s life, from his dreams when he was a child to his creations as an engineer. You are following his life torn between his imagination and the harsh reality of the WWII. With his beloved mentor, Giovanni Caproni, his only dream is to design planes that flight across the world. Since he puts all his means for this quest, he will be hired in the flourishing company named Mitsubishi.
This is when the story reveals some lenghts and a uncomfortable detachment about what is going on around the engineer. Indeed, torn between his deceptive prototypes and a complex love story, the character stays far away from any war considerations whereas he is taking part indirectly. Not to mentioned, Jiro Horikoshi actually designed the Zero plane which was used for the kamikaze attack at Pearl Harbor years after. Nonetheless, this debates is partially raised up, when in his dreams, Koji discusses with Giovanni about the finality of his creations. They should serve the good, help people to travel around the world and its beauty.
Therefore, to better enjoy this movie, you have to accept the poetry as the emblem of the story. This is not about Manichaeism, moral and war but really about a work ethic to reach as close as possible dreams. This is about the gap an artist, a scientist, or a visionary face between their wishes and the reality of their time and society. That is why, I think this movie has to be long. Thanks to it, you experience this life time pursuit perfection always unsatisfied that affects as you affective life as you relatives around. This interpretation of this movie leads me to an understanding of a farewell to Miyazaki commitment as a director, since his art is no longer his but belongs now to the Japanese legacy. Inspired from Paul Valery quote « le vent se lève!… il faut tenter de vivre! », I realized it was more about the artist commitment to his work and the posterity of it that doesn’t make you fear death anymore,… as a transcendence has been reached… a certain wisdom has been achieved before a upcoming end.
January 23, 2014