Fig. 1 – movie poster
“When the Wind Blows” is an animation from 1986 directed by Jimmy T. Murakami. If “The Triplets of Bellevue” was the frenchiest animation I’ve seen, this was the most English one for sure. I’ve never seen a film entirely driven by small talk and tea drinking. The thing that strikes immediately is the art style that gives you the illusion for another snowman Christmas story, but the tone of “When the Wind Blows” is way darker. What starts as naïve preparation for an eventual bombing turns the environment against the characters and even though they are trying really hard to maintain order they fail miserably.
What makes the film exceptionally dark is the overall feeling of dread and even though some parts could be seen as funny when taken out of context, while watching, everything remains alarming. From the characters trying to contact their son on the phone after the bomb, to the futile attempts of turning the telly on. A lot could be said about mood. The feeling that prevails is indeed very monotonous and secluded. Perhaps intentional to emphasize the remoteness of the couple and maybe to point out how war really affects the life of people that are not in the middle of the action. Point of view plays a major role in the film and the camera angles are impressive at times. Perspective is well utilised in story terms as well. Choosing to portray a middle class family to show the horrors and effects of war works better for me, than showing soldiers killing each other somewhere far away.
James and Hilda Bloggs remain undeterred even after their bodies are badly poisoned by radiation and they keep on trying to spruce up the house. It is sad, but in the same time as a viewer I remained very detached by what was happening.
Technically the blend between drawn animation and stop-motion was very well executed. Especially when the camera moves inside the interior of the house, giving the film a 3rd dimension. I am not entirely convinced by the blend between live action war scenes and animation though, but I can see how it helped putting the story into context and making the characters more believable to the viewer.
Overall “When the Wind Blows” is a perfect product of its times and represents a bygone era of war rumours and terror. Thinking about it makes me appreciate that I grew up in the 90s and that wasn’t part of my childhood.
The characters remain positive until the very end and I am very happy there wasn’t a scene where they were shown dead. The film cuts intelligently mid-prayer and enhances the dreadful feeling that it creates.
Fig 1 – movie poster - Ecx.images-amazon.com. (2016). [online] Available at: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vtN5pPeHL._AC_UL320_SR238,320_.jpg [Accessed 10 Mar. 2016].