This decades-spanning epic from maestro Hayao Miyazaki is his most unique film to date. Inspired by the stories of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of one the most beautiful airplanes in history — the famed Zero fighter — and the writer Tatsuo Hori, this tale of love and perseverance in a turbulent world is brought to life by the vivid animation of Studio Ghibli.
The Wind Rises
A work of ethereal complexity and immense beauty, The Wind Rises is rumoured to be maestro Hayao Miyazaki's swan song. Whether or not this sad news proves to be true, the film is unique amongst the animator's work.
For the first time in his career, Miyazaki weaves a story that spans not days but decades. And unlike the heroes who have populated his Studio Ghibli universe in the past, each the product of their creator's fervid imagination, the protagonist of The Wind Rises is inspired by two characters that existed in real life: Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of one of the most beautiful airplanes in history, the famed Zero fighter; and Tatsuo Hori, author of the novel bearing the film's title, whose encouraging incipit is the Paul Valéry lyric "the wind is rising, we must attempt to live."
Miyazaki's Jiro, voiced by cult animation director Hideaki Anno (Evangelion), lives a simple, rural life. In his fantasy world, up on the highest clouds in the sky, he regularly meets Caproni, an Italian aeronautical engineer who designs the most amazing flying machines. With Caproni's spirited guidance, Jiro studies hard and manages to enter Tokyo's university. His bright intelligence and dedication will lead him to become an elite engineer, and creator of the state-of-the-art fighter bomber put into service just as Japan was contemplating war with the US.
Perhaps Miyazaki's most mature film,
The Wind Rises elaborates on themes dear
to his singular poetic, such as an interest in
aviation and ecology. Jiro, in his stubborn
idealism, seems to embody Miyazaki's own
genius, and his world carries a disturbing
resemblance to today's Japan, embodied in
the message of hope and endurance of the
film's tag line, "Ikineba," which in Japanese
means "we have to live."
Special thanks to The Japan Foundation, Toronto.