Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Whilst writing the Reading the Apocalypse article for MediaMagazine, I looked through my notebooks and found a text regarding Jimmy T. Murakami's When the Wind Blows. Here is the notebook entry, in full:
In addition to The War Game and Threads, a further Cold War/ Post-apocalyptic narrative would emerge from Britain: based on the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs, When the Wind Blows is an animated film that recounts the effect of a nuclear strike on the UK from the perspective of an elderly couple, Jim and Hilda Bloggs. Like its predecessors, the film depicts narrative events from an extremely realistic point of view - Jim and Hilda’s radiation sickness brings about both calming hallucination and terrible sickness, their lack of food and water steadily starving them until, eventually, both die in their sleep. The film’s sense of tragedy is compounded not just by the simple metaphor that Jim and Hilda represent but because of their very lack of knowledge of how to cope in the situation they are forced into. Throughout the film Jim and Hilda recount there experiences of the Second World War, describing it as a violent period but one in which the threat was known and one in which society pulled together as a unified whole to overcome this shared enemy. The war, for them, was in another country, far, far away. From these experiences emerges their unwavering faith in the government. As Jim and Hilda drink cups of tea, Jim assures his wife that everything will be alright and that he is sure the government is working effectively to bring everything back to normal. For all his faith, Jim fails to realise that there probably is not a government and that although they have survived the nuclear blast, they are now subjecting themselves to fallout and radiation poisoning. Whilst the film shifts towards its extremely bleak ending, there are moments of stark humour that contrast sharply with the stark reality the film depicts, culminating in a film that is as poignant as it is terrifying.