by Xinhua Writers Ji Shaoting, Liang Saiyu and Yang Ting
BEIJING/TOKYO, Sept. 5 (Xinhua)-- "The Wind Rises", supposedly the last movie of Hayao Miyazaki, one of greatest Japanese animation masters,tells the story of a boy from a provincial town, his dreams of flying and how war destroys love and dreams.
As the finale of the master's five-decade career, the film debuted at the top of Japan's box office and has stayed there for the last month. It is in competition at the Venice Festive Film where production company Ghibli announced Miyazaki's retirement on Sunday.
Miyazaki was absent from the festival, having stayed in Japan.
"The Wind Rises" centers on Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japan's A6M Zero fighter aircraft used in World War II.
Marked by Miyazaki's vivid colors, it is his first film featuring historical figures and real events: Japan's march towards war.
After a showing at Tokyo's Toho Cinema, an elderly couple, Ikeda and Nakahara, remained seated while others left, immersed in wartime memories.
"I was six when the war ended. Even as a small child, I had the feeling that Japan would be defeated, although I dared not to speak out. I believe many Japanese felt the same," said 76-year-old Ikeda, who shares the similar wartime memories with Miyazaki, 74.
For Ikeda, the movie's scenes of clear blue skies dotted with white clouds on the flat fields, exactly mirror the past.
"We have such beautiful nature, but the poverty, plague and depression brought along by war were unbearable. The war was a mistake," Ikeda said.
Commentators see the movie as a quiet warning against war, expressing helplessness in the face of reality. It also speaks of the necessity of following one's dreams.
Toshio Suzuki, producer at Studio Ghibli under Miyazaki, said Miyazaki has a deep understanding of the war history, and is a pacifist who used to march against war as a young man.
The war left the Japanese with mixed feelings towards humanity, society and their nation; whether to believe or not, the dilemma of "despair or trust", and how to move on, Suzuki said.
Yang Xiaolin, an associate professor at the college of communication and art in Tongji University, also author of book "Animation Master Miyazaki," said in Miyazaki's wartime childhood, raised in a family who helped manufacture the aircraft, has contributed to his hatred of war.
DREAM OR SCREAM
In the film, scenes of the first successful A6M Zero flights and a ground littered with smashed planes are shown alternately on the screen, which struck a chord in the heart of Nakahara, 74.
"I've known of Jiro Horikoshi since the old days. He was under great pressure to design the fighter and he succeeded," he said.
Nakahara says the film does not tell the story of a weapon maker but of a dream chaser who gives his all to make unrealistic dreams to come true.
"The life of Miyazaki might be the same," he said.
In the past five decades, the director has won hearts and accolades around the world with 11 feature films, including "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away".
"Spirited away" won an Oscar for best animated feature, the first Japanese film to do so.
Murong Yindao, a Chinese animator much influenced by Miyazaki, says he resorts to the master every time he loses his nerve.
"The white hair man with the white beard uses pencils taped together and his hands are covered with bandages, but he is still drawing and creating," Murong said. "When I think of him, I question myself on how I could ever give up."
In Murong' s eyes, his idol is "an old kite which always knows its own direction."
Murong said he discovered that Miyazaki's works are always flowing with winds, like hairs and ribbons blowing in the breeze, "his works are breathing."
On hearing the news of Miyazaki's retirement, Murong tweeted in his microblog account, "When I first watched Shonen manga, which are all-action, and I had no idea that animation could be like My Neighbor Totoro, whose world is so warm and softhearted."
Such a huge creature as Totoro has the power to changing shape, but is tender and harmless, which represent Miyazaki's mind, according to Murong.
The Chinese animator said many people have dreams in their childhood that a tiny family lives under the bed and will come out the sheet is lifted.
"The soft fluffy part drained away from the hearts of many grown-ups, but Miyazaki keeps it."
Murong believes that all beautiful things are the same, regardless of nationality.
"Although the old man will retire, the beautiful world he created will live in our hearts, always," Murong said.