The Wind Rises: New York Film Festival 2013

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The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises


In what’s reportedly his final film, influential Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) is in a reflective state of mind. Beyond a few strikingly realized dream sequences, this is a more-or-less straight biopic of aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi (voiced by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno), the man responsible for designing many of Japan’s WWII fighter planes. The germ of the idea came to Miyazaki after he read a Horikoshi quote (“All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful”), and the semifictionalized result is bursting with consistently gorgeous imagery—notably several impossible aircraft that wouldn’t be out of place in My Neighbor Totoro—that the director attempts to freight with sobering ambivalence. (Horikoshi’s beautiful things, after all, were responsible for many deaths.) Yet like his protagonist, Miyazaki often seems too bewitched by the visual allure to dig very deeply into the troubling undercurrents. Click for showtimes.—Keith Uhlich

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