Studio Ghibli, headed by writer/director Hayao Miyizaki, has been responsible for some of the most beloved and critically revered animated films of the last thirty years.
Announcing his retirement back in September, The Wind Rises - loosely based on the true story of jet fighter engineer Jiro Horikoshi, is to be Miyizaki’s final film. I saw it during its limited run at Queen’s Film Theatre three weeks ago and was left in awe.
Real historical events are covered through two decades in the life of this fictionalised Jiro Horikoshi.
As a young child, he dreams of working for Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Battista Caproni. In his twenties, he experiences the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and starts work with Mitsubishi. In his thirties he begins developing planes for the Japanese army during World War II. A very niche plot, but not one that should dissuade any viewers with an aviation aversion.
This is an enchanting film with tremendous warmth and some of the most exquisite animation I’ve ever seen. The Wind Rises is a film that everyone, regardless of age, simply needs to see.
A masterpiece and one of the year’s best, its a fitting swansong for the visionary Miyazaki.