Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Wind Rises": A Whimsical History of a Killing Machine 

Wednesday, Feb 19 2014
Comments

Isn't it just like humans to invent a thing of gravity-defying beauty and then use it to slaughter each other? Hayao Miyazaki's tribute to Zero fighter-plane designer Jiro Horikoshi has sparked controversy not just for having fictional elements, but for being a nostalgic fantasy, prone to lyricism — the title borrows from a poem by Paul Valéry — and temperamentally averse to treating Horikoshi's legacy with any tone other than bittersweetness. It should be said that this reportedly final film from the animation maestro and Studio Ghibli co-founder extends very naturally from Miyazaki's rightly beloved earlier works, which collectively reveal his own refreshingly incorruptible fascination with flying contraptions. Also, it's not wholly a flight of fancy to imagine his chosen protagonist as having once been just a young aspiring aeronautical engineer who happened also to be a citizen of Japan between the two World Wars. With consistently and characteristically exquisite visual design, Miyazaki's stance is elegantly established by the movie's overture: a boyhood dream of flight whose soaring liberty is heinously colonized by winged battle machines. He definitely does protect his notion of Horikoshi the dreamer, as if addressing the violence made possible by his work would only dignify or enable its destructiveness. It's a touching idea, but pacifism does lose force if it feels like denial.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

Bio:
SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

Related Locations

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"