Fig. 1. When the Wind Blows poster
When the Wind Blows (1986) is an animated film directed by Jimmy T. Murakami who also directed The Snowman, it features the story of an old couple who are preparing for an impending nuclear attack from Russia. The film largely takes place in the couples house as Jim, the man of the house attempts to follow a government pamphlet with directions on how to survive.
Fig. 2. Jim and the pamphlet
The film attempts to be humorous throughout as the old couple are following directions from a pamphlet on how to build a shelter and survive, they bicker and make funny comments, Hilda was more worried about her curtains and pillows than her own safety. As the bomb is about to hit Hilda wanted to go and get the washing in, however at this moment Jim began shouting and swearing which completely changed the tone of the film. At this point it all became more real, the comedy then appeared to be more twisted and sinister as the couple had to carry on trying to survive. It was then that the film became tense and uncomfortable as the audience was then left to watch the couple’s health slowly decay.
The film did have some funny moments which made the first half seem slightly more light-hearted, there was a scene in which Jim was comparing two pamphlets on how to survive and they both gave different information, this could be seen as the indication that there wasn’t any hope. At other times as Jim was talking to Hilda he kept getting the current situation mixed up with the second world war, a gag that is replayed throughout the film, it could be said that the similarities of each situation made them appear as if they were the same, or it could simply be that Jim is old and cannot remember what is happening, either way the film is clear that hope keeps a person strong, even though in reality there was never any hope to begin with.
The aesthetic of the film was quite charming and in scenes of flashbacks it was very beautiful, this made the whole film more watchable as it was welcoming it its aesthetic. The film arguably most powerful scene was when the bomb went off, it was monochromatic making it stand out and feel intense compared to the rest of the film. The film also mixed 2d animation with stop motion animation which at times worked quite well, however a few scenes felt a bit clunky such as when they were moving the cover or getting in the potato sacks.
Overall I found this film quite difficult to watch, it was emotionally powerful which made it quite uncomfortable at times, watching someone struggle in a hopeless condition was a challenge however the overall film was good. The ending was very strong and the build up to it was very moving, not a film I would recommend for emotionally weak people. The aesthetic was an enjoyable factor of the film as was the first half with its comedy, it is focused on a strong subject and it tackles it in a way that sends chills down your back.
Figure 1. When the Wind Blows poster. (2003) From: When the Wind Blows, Directed by: Jimmy T. Murakami [Film still] At: http://www.chud.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/When-the-Wind-Blows-Poster.jpg
Figure 2. Jim and the pamphlet. (2003) From: When the Wind Blows, Directed by: Jimmy T. Murakami [Film still] At: http://s3.amazonaws.com/auteurs_production/images/film/when-the-wind-blows/w856/when-the-wind-blows.jpg