The wind is rising, we must try to live.
The Wind Rises
So apparently (I was previously unaware) there is a lot of disappointment surrounding Frozen’s Oscar win. I thought it was a fine movie. However, after watching The Wind Rises, I am now on the angry-at-the-academy-awards bandwagon. Miyazaki is the best story teller currently living. That is all.
- Ice Cave Near The Mutnovsky Volcano, Russia - Ice caves like these form in the glaciers surrounding the Mutnovsky Volcano in Russia. Some of them are formed by vents that release volcanic heat and gases called fumaroles. (photo by Florian Wizorek)
- Glowworms Cave, New Zealand - The Waitomo glowworm caves are home to a unique insect – the glowworm. These insects hang glistening silken strands from the ceiling of the cave and glow to attract unsuspecting prey. (photo by waitomo.com)
- Son Doong Cave, Vietnam - This is the largest currently known cave in the world. It is filled with countless wonders including isolated ecosystems, weather systems and geological formations. (photo by National Geographic)
- Batu Caves, Malaysia - These caves have been used by English and Chinese settlers as well as the indigenous Temuan people. The bat guano in the cave was mined for agricultural purposes, but now the cave is filled with statues and is open to visitors. (photo by Danny Xeero)
- Marble Caves, Patagonia - Theses caves are known for the spectacular reflections that the turquoise water casts on the white marble ceiling of the cave. They are also called the Marble Cathedral because of their beautiful and arching forms. (photo by kellywhite)
- Phraya Nakhon Cave, Thailand - This cave was historically a popular visiting place for local kings because of the illumination provided by the collapsed roofs. The pavilion in the center was built for the visit of King Chulalongkorn in 1890. (photo by Wasitpol Unchanakorrakit)
- Ellison’s Cave, United States - This photograph is of the Fantastic Cave pit, part of Ellison’s Cave in the state of Georgia. It is a popular attraction for pit cavers – those who enjoy rappelling down vertical subterranean drops. (photo by secondglobe.com)
- Vatnajokull Glacier Cave, Iceland - This cave is located in the largest glacier in Europe. Caves like these form due to melting glacial icewater, but they can be dangerous because glaciers are constantly breaking and changing. (photo by Einar Runar Sigurdson)
- Cave in Algarve, Portugal - Due to its location, the cave is prone to various seaside formations because of the rock face’s relative solubility in water. This specific cave near Lagos is accessible only by water. (photo by Bruno Carlos)
- Reed Flute Cave, China - The Reed Flute Cave in Guangxi, China has been visited by tourists for at least 1200 years. The cave is home to a spectacular array of stalagmites and stalactites. It is named for the reeds that grow at its mouth, which can be made into flutes. (photo by Pasquale di Pilato)
Unlike live-action movies, no noise you hear in a cartoon is actually generated by the action you see on screen. Instead, the filmmakers have to record, generate, or otherwise find sounds to make the physical reality they’re depicting seem real: when characters are walking through a forest, we hear birds chirping, trees rustling, the ground crunching underfoot, and so forth. This is, in other words, not incidental, but always a deliberate choice, and animators can choose to make these sounds more or less realistic. They almost always choose, however, to be realistic, or at least convincing. Since TIE Fighters do not exist, they cannot be said to have a realistic sound, but the sound that accompanies their appearance on-screen sounds convincingly like what we’d think a thing that looks like that would sound like. It does not sound like the combination of “an elephant call with a car driving on wet pavement,” even though that’s what the sound is made from. Even when being unrealistic, sound designers strive for verisimilitude.
In The Wind Rises, however, the sound of mechanical things does not sound at all realistic or convincing. Instead, it is very obviously made by recording human beings making motor sounds with their mouths. The sound designers have put microphones in front of people and had them imitate an engine revving up in the way kids do when playing with their toys, then layered a number of those recordings until they sounded something like engines, but still like people. Though unusual, it makes absolute sense within the context of the movie. While we instinctually see mechanical objects as alien or inhuman, they are always designed and made by specific people for specific needs. All that metal and clanking noise seems like the domain of anti-humanity; men are opposed to machines in the iconography of industrialization, and mechanization is thought to block human effort. But by having the motors make the sound of the human voice, Miyazaki echoes the narrative, which is careful to show us how machines are designed and constructed by human hands. (Guns don’t kill people; guns made by people kill people.) It’s hard to think of a more poetic evocation of the social construction of technology.
(The earthquake early in the movie makes the sound of human voices as well, which confused me until I remembered that the real disaster sprung not from the ground moving but the subsequent fires. The disaster came from cooking fires, building materials, the arrangement of buildings: it was man-made.)
Studio Ghibli laying down the cold hard facts since 1997.