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By Anita Senaratna
September 09, 2013
By Anita Senaratna
September 09, 2013

For fans of anime film director Hayao Miyazaki, the good news is that his new film, The Wind Rises, will be released in Australian cinemas next year. The bad news is, he's confirmed that this will be his last full-length feature film.

Miyazaki's animation career has spanned over 50 years, but he's best known for the studio he co-founded, Studio Ghibli, and its films Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle and Ponyo — dreamy, whimsical movies that are a lot more progressive than the average Disney number, addressing things like feminism, environmentalism and pacifism. The Wind Rises is a semi-fictional biopic about aeroplane designer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the A6M Zero (a deadly aircraft used in World War II) but started out as a young boy who dreamed of making and flying beautiful planes. Set in pre-war Japan, the film depicts events including the Depression, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan's role in WWII.

It's attracted a lot of controversy in Japan, having been released in the middle of a nationwide debate about the Japanese government's proposed changes to the military. Despite this, The Wind Rises has still been at the top of the Japanese box office for seven consecutive weeks and has been getting some pretty good reviews.

Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature animation in a media statement on Friday, 6 September. He said that while he will continue working in other capacities, he will not direct another full-length film — and that includes scripting and supervising as well as the pen-to-paper animation Studio Ghibli painstakingly produces. The latest film took five years to finish, and at that rate, the anime legend says, "the studio can't survive."

The Wind Rises will be released in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment in 2014.

Published on September 09, 2013 by Anita Senaratna


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