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“The Wind Rises” and “Ernest & Celestine” Win Critic Prizes

A critical consensus is beginning to form around Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises as the best animated film of 2013. Following up on its National Board of Reviewa and New York Film Critics Circle recognition, Miyazaki’s final feature film was honored as the year’s best animated film by the Boston Society of Film Critics. The film did not earn its honor without some controversy. One Boston critic, Inkoo Kang, argued against the film, calling it ‘morally repugnant’ because of its whitewashing of Japanese war crimes during World War II. She provided a copy of her dissenting statement to Criticwire.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association handed out their best animated feature award to the hand-drawn French animated feature Ernest & Celestine, directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner. Their runner-up film was, of course, The Wind Rises.

  • Anson J

    Ernest and Celestine was an excellent film, and another reminder that hand-drawn animated features don’t necessarily have to look like Eisner-era Disney, or Road to El Dorado or Prince of Egypt, or anime. There’s no law that demands that. No really, there isn’t.

    • Pedro Nakama

      I’ve seen parts of Ernest and Celestine and it looks really good, And it’s a relief from all of the CG that’s being crammed down our throats.

  • George Comerci

    Ernest and Celestine is great from what I’ve heard….but when’s it going to get a US release? I think i would be more excited for it if i knew more of what it was about…

  • Charlie

    I haven’t seen ‘The Wind Rises’ yet, but I’m intrigued by the accusation that it is “morally repugnant” for glossing over Japan’s actions during the war. It seems odd considering that Miyazaki has always come across as very anti-war, in both his works and in interviews.

    In ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, Howl refuses to fight in the war, and part of the ‘happy ending’ is a truce. In ‘Porco Rosso’, Porco refuses to fight for the fascist government. And in both ‘Nausicaa’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’, the protagonists are drawn into conflicts they want no involvement in, and try to end the violence.

    Not to mention Miyazaki’s essays and interviews. He recently criticized the lack of proper apologies and reparations given to comfort women. He was even accused of being a traitor, or anti-Japanese.

    So I’m surprised that a Miyazaki film would ever be accused of glossing over the worst aspects of war, considering that it’s always been something he’s been fairly outspoken about. I suppose in the case of ‘The Wind Rises’ his decision to focus on a real aircraft designer may have been a poor one, seeing as what these aircraft were used for. His choice to base the film around his admiration for the man’s work may have lead to the story glossing over the nastier aspects of reality, as a means of avoiding making the main character too morally ambiguous, or distracting from the actual story. On the other hand, its possible this critic is seeing too much into it.

    • I haven’t seen the film yet (it’s not out here in Ireland), but from what I understand he’s getting criticism from both sides on this — people accusing him of being an apologist for Japanese fascist imperialism (he took to TV and newspapers in Korea to refute those accusations) and nationalist and far-right politicians in Japan accusing him of criticizing Japan’s warlike years as pointless and cruel, which I don’t think he’s refuted.

      The Zero was an extraordinary machine, far ahead of what anyone else at the time had made. The problem is, it was a tool of conquest and domination. Clearly, he either didn’t navigate that distinction well enough, or it’s an impossible subject to broach without offending everybody.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I’m glad though he got to say what he wanted in the film and leave it up to those of us to have the opinions we do about it, that’s what film is suppose to do.