Sunday, March 9, 2014
Film Review: The Wind Rises
I don’t have a lot of expertise in film reviews, I just watch films and know what I like. However, I saw one last night that I thought worth sharing here, since I know that some of you make model aircraft (Kinch and King and Stoesen, I’m looking at you fellows).
I think anyone who has made a model aircraft has a sense of the beauty of aircraft and of their design, even when we make a hash of the model and get glue all over everything. The romance of early flight, the grace of aircraft designs, and history all come together in this film. It’s also incredibly beautiful. Have a look at this trailer.
The Wind Rises is about Jiro Horikshi, the aeronautical engineer who designed the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter. It’s a coming of age story,, a boy meets girl story, and a boy falls in love with aircraft story. Believe it or not, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch the hero work a slide rule, scribble numbers, and then see his designs fly off the drafting table in a flurry of air and graceful lines.
I’m not a great fan of Japanese anime, but I found this one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. The film is a rich blend of history, fantasy, and imagination. The director is Hayao Miyazaki, who has had a long and honoured career and a long history of reflecting on Japanese history. Miyazaki was taken by Horikishi once saying that he just wanted to design something beautiful, and one of themes of the movie is how design and technology is taken over for war and violence. Certainly the Zero fighter was a beautiful creation - we see a flight of them at the end in a final dream sequence, sleek and deadly like sharks, but Jiro sees them with the knowledge that the war is lost, and the planes he designed and the pilots who flew them never came home. The mixture of loss, naiveté and melancholy is quite powerful, but the film still celebrates the impetus to dream and reach for beauty.
There’s a link here on how The Wind Rises has caused some controversy. Some people, particularly in Korea, think it romanticizes and celebrates Japan’s militaristic history, while conservatives in Japan think it’s unpatriotic. See it for yourself and decide. Take your significant other when you go, because it is a love story on several levels. Even though there are long sequences with slide rules and talk about rivets, she’ll love it too.
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