Boston Film Critics Spring For '12 Years A Slave' As Dissenter Lobbies Against WWII-Set Miyazaki Toon 'The Wind Rises'

Boston critics logoThe Boston Society of Film Critics went big for Steve McQueen‘s slavery drama 12 Years A Slave today, awarding the Fox Searchlight Oscar contender three end-of-year awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Best Director. Meanwhile, Best Animated Film honors went to Hayao Miyazaki‘s acclaimed WWII-era love story The Wind Rises – but not without vocal opposition from Village Voice critic Inkoo Kang. “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 willful refusal to acknowledge its country’s role in that terribleness,” read a portion of a statement Kang recited aloud during the vote. “To me, the fact that the film glosses over the true purpose of those planes — The Wind Rises Protestand never mentions the fact that those planes were built by Chinese and Korean slave labor — is morally egregious.” The film has earned vocal criticism within Japan for romanticizing the nation’s war industry during WWII. Kang explained to Deadline why she took a public stand against the pic, which is also eyeing the Oscars: “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.” Check out the 2013 Boston film critics winners below.

Best Picture – 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor – Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave

Best Actress – Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor – James Gandolfini for Enough Said

Best Supporting Actress – June Squibb for Nebraska

Best Director – Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

Best Screenplay – Nicole Holofcener for Enough Said

Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity

Best Documentary – The Act of Killing

Best Foreign-Language Film – Wadjda

Best Animated Film – The Wind Rises

Best Film Editing (awarded in memory of Karen Schmeer) – Daniel P. Hanley and Mike Hill for Rush
Best New Filmmaker (awarded in memory of David Brudnoy) – Ryan Coogler for Fruitvale Station

Best Ensemble Cast – Nebraska

Best Use of Music in a Film – Inside Llewyn Davis

  1. Ordinarily, the constant din of politically aggrieved parties has made me willfully deaf to it, but in this case I can understand why the victims of Japan’s imperial wars would object to this film. If this was a film about a brave young German aeronautics expert experiencing the exultation of rockets, people would be very upset. But it seems as if, because it is Miyazaki, and it’s wars that not as many of of our grandparents experienced, people aren’t reacting.

  2. I don’t know which WIND RISES she saw, but the one I saw didn’t mention the war until the very end, when the protagonist explicitly declares his regret and sorrow that his beautiful designs were used for such horrible means.

  3. I saw WR at the Landmark Beverly Center with a sold-out audience, and it was an amazing cinematic dream…and as mentioned by @cadavra, it seemed to be celebrating aviation genius, love and an anti-war sentiment, blended…

    (Btw, the scenes when the design engineers visited Germany were culturally informing and hilarious.)

  4. I’m Chinese American and I saw this at NYFF and I agree w/Cadavra. Miyazaki has made it clear he in not way shape or form supports war or oppression of others. This is a personal film for him as his father worked on those planes and he grew up learning a lot of it. In fact, this movie is controversial in Japan by the far right/conservatives as being too apologetic and not pro-imperialistic Japan policies. To me, this is more about the upheavals the country went through before WWII and as some reviewers said a processing of a terrible time in their history. Not that there aren’t atrocities that Japan shouldn’t deal with directly in some future film but this is just not that film.

  5. Because Americans NEVER romanticise their role in the war where they performed actions just as bad if not worse than those of the Japanese…

    1. I ask you Mr.Barnett,do you think Mr.Miyazaki has ever romanticised the war(or roles of Japanese forces) in his work? Then where are your eyes? In my opinion,there have been only few directors like Mr.Miyazaki who clearly express their opposition to war in spite of long time since WWⅡ at least in Japan.

  6. 12 Yeasr a Slave is only one aspect of the African experience. I don’t see anyone pining for films about the terrible oppression in African nations like Zimbabwe. Not all Africans are victims. Many are are despots or part of repressive systems that crush the poor, women, and, yes, whites.

  7. I’m a Japanese man,born in 1980 and off corse I’m only familiar with WWⅡ by watching movies and TV documentaries.And in my opinion,we,three nations,Japan,China and Korea,are now in quite equal position as to the war because most of their population consist of generations that doesn’t know the war directly but only images of the war.

    Well,I have a problem with my English skill as most of decent Japanese people do to explain the complicated relations between Japanese,Chinese and Korean people after the war.And in my opinion,Mr.Miyazaki has been one of a few directors who clearly expressed their conviction to oppose the war and conflicts.Well,,,it’s only a movie and it’s only past that our grandparents had been through.What do you expect more Inkoo Kang? You wannna extend hatred more than ever between asian countries from now? We live in 21st centry! and doing sooooo many things together on trades,foods,travel,entertainment like this between nations and the people.

    It’s so pity to see brainwashed people indeed(Who does this to people?).My instinct tells me that only few asian nations meet real peace of mind and democracy after the war.That’s so sad.

    1. Taguchi-san, to remember the tragedy of wars does not necessarily extend hatred, it all depends on how people do it and how it is being taken. It has nothing to do with English-skill neither, peace transcends languages and cultures. Last but not least. education is itself a type of brainwash, it all depends on what do you teach the kids with.

      Earlier, Korea remembers a historical incident which was the assassination of a Japanese colonial governor in the occupied Korea, and the Japanese government complained to the Korean government over the remembrance. That was a manifestation of what’s in the mind of the current Japanese government, they do not think the colonization of Korea was wrong. I perfectly agree that such thought was unnecessarily embraced by most the Japanese people, if that’s the case, say it loud, tell your politicians to say the minds of the peace-loving Japanese people.

      1. Thank you for your response Leung-san(sorry to call you with Japanese way but for I can’t identify if you are Mr or Ms.).To tell you what I think about this briefly,I actually didn’t have much objection to your comment.It sounded reasonable to me.And at the same time,it was not exactly what I mean.

        Let’s think about the circumstance of the event.The day was all about movies and event was held to share fun and celebrate those movies in a city in the States. And one of them happened to be a Japanese animation,The Wind Rises by the director Mr.Miyazaki.
        As one who watched the movie with great concentration,I can clearly tell that Ms.Kang’s missed the point and claimed weird and unreasonable way for the movie.It was not made to highlight a war itself or a particular ideology per se,and the event was even held in a city of the US far from Korea and Japan.Calling her action as one of those “political lobbying” would sound quite right to me,and I don’t think it was an appropriate occasion for such action.

        And in addition,the movie was a story about a man(a genius aeronautical engineer) who lived those stormy days that began decades before WWⅡ happened and ended just as the end of it.The movies might be explained as “How a man lived his own life and struggled with those tough moments the world gave him” However the movie refuses any brief assumptions for it consists of so many elements just like other Miyazaki’s works.I suppose that caused Ms.Kang to missed the point about what the director wanted or not wanted to express in the movie.Some of them comes from his own being and love for what he has dreamed of(And the whole world has fallen in love with what he loved as well) But sadly,some people seem to believe there are only few ways to say nice things by blaming something,shouting out loud and becoming emotional,and if not clearly stated so you deserve to be blamed.
        Well,I might be out of way,I just loved to watch the movie.

  8. Thank you for your response Leung-san(sorry to call you with Japanese way but for I can’t identify if you are Mr or Ms.).To tell you what I think about this briefly,I actually didn’t have much objection to your comment.It sounded reasonable to me.And at the same time,it was not exactly what I mean.

    Let’s think about the circumstance of the event.The day was all about movies and event was held to share fun and celebrate those movies in a city in the States. And one of them happened to be a Japanese animation,The Wind Rises by the director Mr.Miyazaki.
As one who watched the movie with great concentration,I can clearly tell that Ms.Kang’s missed the point and claimed weird and unreasonable way for the movie.It was not made to highlight a war itself or a particular ideology per se,and the event was even held in a city of the US far from Korea and Japan.Calling her action as one of those “political lobbying” would sound quite right to me,and I don’t think it was an appropriate occasion for such action.

    And in addition,the movie was a story about a man(a genius aeronautical engineer) who lived those stormy days that began decades before WWⅡ happened and ended just as the end of it.The movies might be explained as “How a man lived his own life and struggled with those tough moments the world gave him” However the movie refuses any brief assumptions for it consists of so many elements just like other Miyazaki’s works.I suppose that caused Ms.Kang to missed the point about what the director wanted or not wanted to express in the movie.Some of them comes from his own being and love for what he has dreamed of(And the whole world has fallen in love with what he loved as well)
    But sadly,some people seem to believe there are only few ways to say nice things by blaming something,shouting out loud and becoming emotional,and if not clearly stated so you deserve to be blamed.

    
Well,I might be out of way,I just loved to watch the movie.

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