The Boston Society of Film Critics voted on their best films of the year over the weekend, with Steve McQueen’s slavery drama “12 Years A Slave” taking the Best Film honor.
However, it was the awarding of the ‘Best Animated Feature’ to Hayao Miyazaki’s WWII-era love story “The Wind Rises” that drew headlines when Village Voice critic Inkoo Kang recited a statement during the vote. The statement went as follows:
“Miyazaki’s film is wholly symptomatic of Japan’s postwar attitude toward its history, which is an acknowledgement of the terribleness of war and a wilful refusal to acknowledge its country’s role in that terribleness.
To me, the fact that the film glosses over the true purpose of those planes – The Wind Rises never mentions the fact that those planes were built by Chinese and Korean slave labor – is morally egregious.
The film itself has come under fire in Japan for this apparent “romanticizing” of the country’s war industry during that era. Kang later explained to Deadline her reasoning for the speech:
I decided to give the speech at the Boston Society of Film Critics meeting because I felt that too few American critics lent sufficient consideration to the glaring moral blind spots in Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises.
The film shouldn’t just be viewed as a harmless portrait of an idealist, but in the context of a postwar mainstream Japanese culture that refuses to examine – and in some egregious cases, admit to – its war crimes.”