Studio Ghibli

film 9 of 9

The Wind Rises

Tweet Review by Dean Duncan Jul 3, 2015 @deanduncan63

Saw #TheWindRises. Multiply, consecutively, preposterously gorgeous. Very moving, simply on the level of craft …

… Story/concept/character? Well: that opening dream sequence approaches Wild Strawberries or 8 ½. Then surpasses them, I’d say.

… Caproni character kinda combines Porco Rosso & Abel Magwitch! Fearsome, ultimately benevolent, & the world an intractable perplexity.

… That long-gestating romance has something Petrarchian, even Beatrice-like about it. (Or is it just Erich Segal’s Love Story?)

… Echoes of The Big Parade in the dearly developing relationships of these doomed young people, w’ their friendships unto annihilation.

… Werner Herzog!? (And thanks, English dub, for telling me that that thing was an earthquake.) …

Reds-like in its sincere revolutionary, or rather, aeronautical fervour, ‘midst gathering storm clouds & mounting menace. Ideals betray/ed!

… That paper-airplane courtship sequence echoes the sweetly indirect eroticism of that Davis/Neill pillow fight in My Brilliant Career.

… That marriage sequence echoes the dinner in Ford’s They Were Expendable for luminosity, delicacy of feeling, & impending fatality.

… Luminosity/fatality, cont’d. Compares favourably w’ the heartbreaking A Farewell to Arms, whether by Hemingway or Borzage.

See? #TheWindRises is clearly, confidently, completely 5-10 other movies, or myths. Permutations open up provocative, troubling …

… invigorating possibilities. Which one did Miyazaki intend, or channel? Which should we pursue, or key upon?

… A virtuosic historical pageant, affirming the values of the nation (regime?!) in the face of great sacrifice & incalculable loss …

… Miyazaki’s Drums Along the Mohawk, or The 47 Ronin (Mizoguchi), or The Cranes are Flying!

… A story of basically, even deeply decent folks, running headlong toward an historical, apocalyptical abyss. Miyazaki’s Rules of the Game!

… Protagonist, bound by his own industry & integrity, disastrously fails to see the forest for the trees. H.M.’s Bridge on the River Kwai!

… A decades-long, blessedly affirmative artist signs off w’ utter, apocalyptic pessimism. Miyazaki’s The Mysterious Stranger!

… A beloved, world-renowned Japanese master falls off the ideological/ethical rails, right at the very end. Miyazaki’s Madadayo!

… The paper/real airplanes at the end suggest Lewis Milestone’s butterfly: blithe, bright, beautiful youth, hoodwinked …

… and then mass-sacrificed. Miyazaki’s All Quiet on the Western Front! Or Miyazaki’s La Bête Humaine (conc., 1890), his Dr. Strangelove!

… And wasn’t our protagonist a de facto recruiter, even, indirectly, a panderer? Miyazaki’s Troilus & Cressida (Wm. Sh. version)!

… Is it apology, apologia, defiant self-rationalization? Or is it elegy & agony, Miyazaki’s War and Peace, or the Book of Judges?

… That subtle sleight-of-hand, that whopping final ellipsis bypasses the entire war! But Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies is present, no?

… That stunning last ellipsis (cf. Grand Illusion’s open), the air fleet gathered & mobilized & then all in a heap …

… Compare the conclusions: Miyazaki’s The Best Years of Our Lives!

… After all the fireworks, multiplicity, virtuosity, there’s that modest, mild, portentous envoi. Miyazaki’s The Tempest!