kortina.nyc / notes / devlog
23 May 2024 | by kortina

film devlog #9 // Miyazaki's Beautiful Dream: The Technological Sublime

Hayao Miyazaki tries to imagine an engineer that can sidestep questions of ethics by dedicating himself to the pursuit of the technological sublime.

WARNING: Spoilers in here for THE WIND RISES and APOLLO 11.


This is a film essay about the Hayao Miyazaki film THE WIND RISES which I’ve seen 5 or 6 times now, most recently at The Angelika in NYC in Jun 2023.

One thing I love about this movie is how much my interpretation of it has changed over the years.

I used to see this movie as Miyazaki’s apology for “the best kind of engineer.” Someone kind and generous; someone who is a pacifist; someone who is more artist than engineer; someone who finds so much beauty in their work that they just can’t resist building airplanes… even when the customer is the military and they know that the planes will be used as weapons of war. Perhaps it’s Miyazaki’s idea of what might motivate him if he were an engineer.

Now I see the story as far more tragic — a story about an engineer’s obsession with his work that leads him to neglect his personal relationships and ignore the moral consequences of working for the military.

My personal understanding of the story on it has almost completely reversed, yet a lot of the people who’ve given feedback on this essay have an interpretation that’s closer to my original one – and I don’t think that interpretation is necessarily wrong, even though mine has changed.

What’s so cool about this film to me – and this is REALLY what inspired me to make this essay – is that it’s a great example of how one story can MEAN almost completely opposite things to different people – or to the same person at different times.


I was working on this essay back in Jan when I mentioned I wanted to start publishing more stuff straight to the internet. My original goal was to release it on 1 Feb.

By Feb, I had a decent rough cut, but I went down some rabbit holes with the voiceover audio (eg, I took a voiceover class) and I had a few other life distractions pop-up… So, by the end of Apr, when I announced the upcoming screening of Telling Mattresses Stories, I was close but not done… So I said I hope to get this essay out “next week.”

It’s now 23 May… better late than never, I guess.


In retrospect, I think the extra time on this was worth it. The original rough cut clocked in at 27:04 and the final is 23:46. I pulled out a lot of cruft, and I made the ending more pointed / specific.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I posted links to a lot of the things I learned while making this in my last substack. I think the only addition I have to post here is some of the stuff I learned about mixing audio specifically for YouTube.

YouTube Administrivia

If you liked this essay and want to see more from me on YouTube, please subscribe to my channel and give the video a thumbs up – it seems like there are certain things you need to “unlock” on YouTube with a certain amount of “karma.”

Watch Miyazaki’s Beautiful Dream: The Technological Sublime on YouTube.

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