Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film The Wind Rises, which opened in Japan on July 20, continues to divide audiences in the country. The pic offers a fictional take on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the famous Japanese Zero fighter planes that were used in the Second World War. Some audiences are troubled by the fact that the movie celebrates the achievements of a man indirectly responsible for war atrocities.
In 2011, the anime master told an interviewer for Cut Magazine, “My wife and my staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war?’ And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject.”
Mr. Miyazaki said that he wanted to portray the engineer’s life, without being judgmental.
“Jiro Horikoshi was the most gifted man of his time, in Japan,” he noted in the Cut interview. “He wasn’t thinking about weapons. Ultimately, he made high-tech destroyers, but really all he desired was to make exquisite planes.”
“It’s a movie that makes you want to say, ‘I’ve never seen a movie and never will ever see a movie that was as good this one,’” tweeted Mamoru Hosoda, the Japanese animator and director of Summer Wars.
Some audiences have been troubled by the darker tone of the latest movie and its serious plotline, which also involves a young female artist battling tuberculosis, which is worlds apart from younger-skewing pics such as My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo.
The Wind Rises will screen at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in Italy, which will be held from August 28th through September 7th.