“Kingdom of Dreams. Land of the Dead.”
A Loving Look at the Narrative Themes in Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises
[Warning: there are spoilers in this]
The last film from Miyazaki is not a fantastical action-adventure tale that joins the ranks of Porco Rosso, Laputa and Princess Mononoke. It is not a touching, coming-of-age journey to join Spirited Away and Kiki’s Delivery Service. The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu) is an entirely realistic, historically-inspired, fictional biography of Jiro Horikoshi, the acclaimed Japanese aircraft engineer during World War II. While it may be partially regrettable that another entry in either of those two aforementioned Miyazaki-mastered genres is not likely to be made, this film is not in any way a disappointment, rather it is a radical triumph and potentially his most narratively complex work.
While masterful in the many ways expected of a Miyzaki feature, the film’s most unique strength is that it manages to convey deeply complex themes through a series of narratives that are elegant in their pacing, touching in their melodrama, but heavily haunted by their context. It’s an eerie, heartbreaking, and wonderful movie.
The plot of The Wind Rises is not so inherently complicated or unusual, though. Jiro Horikoshi grows up with a passion for aircraft and after meeting Italian Aircraft designer (and personal hero to Hayao Miyazaki) Gianni Caproni in a dream, decides to become an airplane designer himself. The film traces his journey to Tokyo for engineering school, where he encounters the Kanto earthquake and meets his future lover Nahoko on a train. It continues then through the years of his career at Mitsubishi designing aircraft and his marriage with Nahoko. On the surface it is largely the story of “a devoted individual who pursues his dream head on,” just as Miyazaki stated in his proposal for the film (via LATimes). However, the film chooses to spend its time and focus on very irregular, seemingly small moments with regards to Jiro’s life as an engineer, leaving many of the larger events offscreen and unsaid.
The Daily Dose of the Dead today is a cover. Another of a seemingly endless number of Bob Dylan songs the Grateful Dead performed. This is Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again from the Cal Expo Amphitheatre in Sacramento, CA on August 05, 1989.
A few years after the Dylan and the Dead tour the band still broke out many Dylan tunes during this tour. The night before this second of three at Cal Expo, they did Queen Jane Approximately and It’s All Over Now Baby Blue. The third night they did Masterpiece. I always enjoyed this song because of Jerry’s strained backing vocals which seemed to fit the bill for this one. The end of this version has some good audience mid song hooting and a crashing keyboard before launching into Row Jimmy.
Stuck Inside is a song written by Bob Dylan that appears on his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. Twenty takes of “Stuck Inside of Mobile” were recorded on February 17, 1966, in Columbia’s Music Row Studios in Nashville. Earlier that day, Dylan had been writing, and he continued to do so in the studio, revising lyrics and changing the song’s structure as he recorded different takes. Eventually, a master take, the twentieth and final take, was chosen after recording the song for three hours.
"Stuck Inside of Mobile" is used in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and is mentioned in the book by Hunter S. Thompson. John Lennon wrote a spoof titled "Stuck Inside of Lexicon with the Roget’s Thesaurus Blues Again," pointing out that Dylan was using obscure lyrics too extensively.
Enjoy today’s Daily Dose!
"Well Shakespeare he’s in the alley, with his pointed shoes and bell. Speaking with some French girl, who says she knows me well. And me, I’d send a message, to find out if she’s talked, but the post office has been stolen, and the mailbox is locked.”
Stuck Inside of a Lexicon!