Sometimes you have to understand that normal changes…
As we all sit at home as much as humanly possible these days in the midst of the global health pandemic it’s getting interesting to try and find something to watch. Not for a lack of choices but for the noise out there on the media landscape.
In an effort to help; we’re launching a new series here at In The Seats; it’s called ‘The Streaming Times’ where we take a look at something from the wide array of streaming services for you to choose from.
First up, having freshly debuted over at the Film Movement Plus service this weekend, we take a look at 1986 dark animated gem; When The Wind Blows.
In this hand drawn animated tale, elderly married couple Hilda (voiced by Peggy Ashcroft) and Jim Bloggs (John Mills) have their quiet and simple lives in the English countryside interrupted when they learn of an impending nuclear attack. Not completely understanding the gravity of their situation, Hilda and Jim react in an archaic and insufficient manner after the attack, especially when it all takes a dark turn as we begin to see the toll that the radiation takes on the unsuspecting couple.
Featuring music from the likes of David Bowie and Roger Waters this sweetly animated tale with its rounded edges is a perfect encapsulation of the not only the height of the Cold War during which this film was made, but still has shocking relevance in the soon to be post-Trump and Brexit worlds.
From director Jimmy T Murakami and writer Raymond Briggs (who adapted his own book for the screen) we get something that plays in the soft and delightful tones that you’d expect from an independent hand drawn feature. However what they really do here through its hybrid style that also uses some model work and stop-motion animation is craft something that lulls us into a false sense of security and really makes a cold comment on the state of the world that these characters are living in. It’s combination of animation with some key archival footage from various pieces of war machine propaganda allow us to really dread for the two characters and feel for them as their faith in the system; which they have to end ultimately proves to be unwarranted.
It’s a strong comment on not only the state of war and the fragility of the various levels of democracy that encompass our day to day lives, but it also serves as a reminder to not allow government complacency at any and all levels. To call this all a biting piece of social commentary would be a colossal understatement but where it’s real magic is in the character study of these two retirees who may have survived the initial blast but also had no understanding of the anarchy and pain that would come to their lives after the first attack.
It’s a reminder that in these times of strife there’s no really way to go back to what was, and that we just have to deal with what is.
Both Peggy Ashcroft and John Mills as our protagonists, capture the sense of the material to an absolute tee and they allow us to make us think that these characters our are grandparents or parents with just enough sense of the modern times to take care of themselves but not enough to know that they live in times where things change so irrevocably that there’s rarely a way to go back to how things used to be done.
Ultimately, When The Wind Blows is a vastly underappreciated piece of animated cinema that remains vital to this very day as it’s a dark reminder to appreciate peace in our world and how easily it can be shifted off its axis into a very fragile and precarious state of being.
When The Wind Blows is now streaming on Film Movement Plus which is only $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year after the free trial.