Monday, August 18, 2014

The Film that Kept Me Breathless

The drawings in the first half were oh-so-Japanese

I admit I am still under the spell of, J.G. Ballard's fictionalized memoir, Empire of the Sun, especially the scene where the boy although interned in a camp by the Japanese feels exhilarated as
 Japanese planes fly over.

Miyazaki's film "The Wind Rises" [Se levanta el viento] is at least as much of a triumph as Ballard's novel.
 This is not just my humble opinion, it has won prestigious prizes and was nominated for many more--if you're curious, you can go to Meanwhile, if you have the chance to see the movie, you will be initiated into the intricacies of Japanese bowing and much, much more.

Yes, some visuals could have come out of the Disney Studio, but the viewer is well into the film before that happens. During the first half,  the drawings continue the tradition of Japanese prints; the sample above, the best I could find online, gives only a faint idea of the artistic quality of the movie.

I eventually forget many compelling films I see, but I doubt I'll forget this one, not only for its breathtaking visuals starting with the boy flying over fields in a dream, but for its unwinding of the way the Japanese saw themselves alongside Americans and Europeans. They felt small, poor and the butt of stereotypes, all contributing to the real  Horikosh''s dream to create the Zero, a plane that would send American airmen to a fiery death.

But mostly, because of the conflicting emotions I felt as I watched the movie. I wanted the Japanese engineers to solve technical problems, I felt dismay when a plane crashed, but simultaneously, I felt shock when I saw the prominent red suns on the wings.

A thinking person's movie relevant to the way we viewed the world then -- and view it now.

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