Critics In Awe Of Hayao Miyazaki's Final Film; The Wind Rises

Hayao Miyazaki was not present during the screening of his new film, The Wind Rises, at the 70th Venice Film Festival this weekend, as he maintained his status as one of Japan's most famous recluses. He may not have been at Venice in person, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming the most talked about person at the festival following the airing of the latest Studio Ghibli animation, as it was announced that the animation great plans to retire.

The eleventh and final film from Miyazaki, 72, has been entered into the competition that honoured him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and if the first round of reviews are anything to go by then he may not have won his last statuette from the Venice Film board. The partly fictionalised biopic of 'Zero' fighter designer Jiro Horikoshi, the film is a war protest set between 1918 and 1939 that is also based on Tatsuo Hori's 1938 part-romance novelette Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Has Risen).

Described as being "as glorious as anything Miyazaki’s studio has created," by The Telegraph's Robbie Collin, he also warns that the film is of much more adult content, as opposed to the family friendly nature of Spirited Away or My Neighbour Totoro, however Miyazaki uses the darker tones of the movie to conjure the most brutal parts of Japan's war-torn past with great affect. He continues by saying that "Ghibli’s team of animators render" parts of the film in "head-spinning detail," and although he didn't fall instantly in love with the picture, he left the cinema with the quiet reserve and appreciation of the film that Miyazaki would no doubt have wanted his audience to feel.

The Guardian critic Xan Brooks is equally as praiseworthy of the animation, describing it as "astonishing" and "a ravishing portrait of pre-war Japan," however he does complain that sometimes the film can get lost in it's own sense of self, rather than addressing the "politics of its subject" on display. Variety on the other hand are much more praiseworthy in their review, with critic Scott Foundas giving a glowing reception of a "hauntingly beautiful historical epic [that] draws a sober portrait of Japan between the two World Wars."

With his retirement coming as a complete surprise to most in attendance, with Koju Hoshino, President of Studio Ghibli, only giving a brief announcement detailing Miyazaki's intent to leave the studio, many have been left waiting for Ghibli's next move. He said that Miyazaki will hold a press conference in Tokyo next week, but until then no other details will be revealed. The announcement simply stated; “Miyazaki has decided that Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) will be his last film, and he will now retire."


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