Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Wind Rises: A Note About Failure, Human and Natural

Horikoshi interacts with Gianni Caproni, the Italian aircraft designer, three times in the film. The first, third, and fourth times seem to involve dream states [1]. The second is different. Horikoshi is in Japan doing one thing (putting out fires after the Great Kanto Earthquake) while Caproni is in Italy doing something else (testing a new plane). But they can talk to one another and have a short conversation:

C: “What do you think, Japanese Boy, is the wind still rising?” [In Italy]
H: “Yes, it’s a gale.” [In Japan]
C: “Well then, you must live. Le vent se lève, il faut tenter de vivre.” [In Italy]

Caproni is filming the first flight of a new plane, one with nine wings and intended to carry 100 passengers across the Atlantic:


That’s Caproni in the dark suit; his cameraman is next to him. The plane fails:


And Caproni grabs the camera, yanks the film out, and tosses it overboard:


It’s when he’s tossing the film overboard that he quotes that line from Paul Valéry, the line that gives the film its title, and the line that Horikoshi and Naoko Satomi shared when they first met, a bit earlier during the earthquake sequence.

Why does Miyazaki juxtapose these two events, a natural disaster that destroys Tokyo, and a technical failure that dashes one man’s hopes?

While you’re thinking about that, you might want to watch this clip of that very plane, the Ca.60 Noviplano:

That clip’s been on YouTube since 2007, so Miyazaki could have seen it there, if not from some other source. And you just know he’s familiar with that clip, don’t you?

I found out about the clip in very interesting post by StephenM, The Kami-Electrified World: Hayao Miyazaki and The Wind Rises, which discusses the film in the context of Miyazaki’s general body of work, including work he did before Ghibli. You might also want to check out another post, Just a little more of The Wind Rises, from frame-grab comparisons between this film and other Miyazaki films.

Respective URLs:

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[1] I discuss the first, second, and third times in this post at 3 Quarks Daily, Why Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises is not Morally Repugnant, URL:

I also discuss the first here, From Concept to First Flight: The A5M Fighter in Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, URL:


  1. Thanks for the link! Glad you liked it! This movie really does seem to be finding its audience over time. When it came out, it seemed like no one was talking about it, but I have since found a number of passionate fans with interesting thoughts about it online.