As "The Wind Rises" screened to ecstatic praise at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, September 1, Koju Hoshino, president of production company Studio Ghibli, revealed to the media that the competition pic would be Hayao Miyazaki's last movie. The 72-year-old animation director was not present to announce his retirement himself.
"Miyazaki has decided that 'Kaze Tachinu' [The Wind Rises] will be his last film, and he will now retire," said Hoshino to the completely stunned reporters. Hoshino did not offer explanation as to why the renowned animator decided to do so, only saying that there would be a briefing in Tokyo next week. "He wants to say goodbye to all of you," the head of the studio added.
Vincent Maraval, who co-founded Wild Bunch, the long-time collaborator of Miyazaki, called the living legend's retirement "the end of the era." Maraval said, "For me, he is simply the greatest animator that ever was ... he is ending on a masterpiece that leaves us with his great humanism and a vision of our century to contemplate."
Tokyo-born Miyazaki started his animation career in 1961. His famous works include "Spirited Away", which won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2001, and the Oscar-nominated "Howl's Moving Castle", which he adapted from Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy novel.
"The Wind Rises", about Jiro Horikoshi who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II, will be released by Disney under the Touchstone Pictures banner in North America.