"Le vent se lève !… Il faut tenter de vivre !"
I cannot write about this without spoiling be warned.
I'm going to touch this not as the biography of Jiro Horikoshi or the autobiography of Hayao Miyyazaki but as the adaptation of Hori Tatsuo's Kaze Tachinu and of Dumas's La Dame aux camélias (Verdi's La Traviata).
This is a fiction of a man, Jiro, in love with a girl, Naoko, with tuberculosis in the days that that was a death sentence.
This weighs over the film from midway through act 1 where they first meet and she is used in the narrative to render him human, feeling, compassionate. She reappears while he questions his humanity weighing the blood already on his hands and the value of his work. She is his muse and it is through her that he is redeemed as he contemplates that not one pilot of the A6M Zero made if home to Japanese soil
Miyazaki has once again made a film lead by a strong woman who freely chooses to live and die by her own will. Although this is almost denied by Kayo, in her role as doctor, her hand is stayed and Naoko's agency remains. To quote "she want's to be remembered for who she is now, not what she will become". Both the fade to black Hollywood bed scene and her essential suicide are powerful firsts for a Ghibli film and both used to full effect. No magic exists in this world outside dreams to whitewash it.
As the story progresses banks fail, as does the agency of the Japan and it's people. They a country who has nothing make weapons of war for those that have even less and must bootlick the Germans to do so. Even through no fault of their own characters just outside our perspective are being disappeared by secret police. We smell Jiro's fear "yes, we'll protect you so long as you are still useful to us"
To those who claim glorification of war from a biography of a man who dared to detract under totalitarian pressure during WWII, by a director who has been pacifist in all of his past creations. Pah! "This war must end else nothing good can come of what I create", alongside realizing the futility of continued fighting is nothing to glorify a war it does not even depict.
Oh yeah, the animation is also fantastic as is the music, although the choice of anime director Hideaki Anno to voice may seem a little odd. There is authenticity to having an otaku (of trains, and tokusatsu) play an otaku (of planes)
10/10, 5 stars etc.
Don't care if flawed, this needs to be seen by all