The Wind Rises
Miyazaki’s swansong, The Wind Rises is a departure from recent Ghibli output, a film aimed quite specifically at adult audiences and set during times of war and conflict.
Essentially this is a semi-biographical work, the central character of Jiro being a composite of engineer Jiro Horikoshi and aeronautical designer Tatsuo Hori, a young man who dreams of creating a modern aeroplane which flies like a bird.
The film takes us through a timeline of historical events – the Great Earthquake of 1923, the Depression and Japan’s TB epidemic as well as the country’s plunge into World War II in which Jiro’s creations will wreak such havoc.
It’s also a love story chronicling the relationship between Jiro and his adolescent sweetheart Naoko, an incredibly romantic portrayal of a relationship underpinned by tragedy.
Critics have been in raptures over the animation in the film, Miyazaki’s pastel palette and the transcendent spirituality which imbues many of his films whilst at the same time critical of a film which focuses without judgment on someone responsible for weapons of mass destruction.
Audiences will draw their own conclusions on a film which has divided critics, whilst at the same time be receptive to the scale and ambition of a possibly final work from one of the world’s great masters of animation.