The Message that Transcends Time in “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”

Nausicaa with her pet Teto (Acquired from IMDB)

By Andrea Garcia // Contributing Writer

As the sun sets and the projector screen turns on outside of the MARC building, the cinematic world of Hayao Miyazaki comes alive. Being the film that paved the way for the rest of the Studio Ghibli movies, the 1984 motion picture “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” tells an entertaining yet familiar story that is more relevant than ever.

The Aspen Ideas Climate Summit, along with the Miami Jewish Film Festival, partnered with FIU to host an exclusive screening of the film. The Summit has made efforts to spread awareness about climate change. Part of their mission is to stress the importance of showing that we can achieve solutions if we work together. The film promotes this message as it aired on May 9, at 8 p.m.

“Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” screening outside of the MARC building. Andrea Garcia (PantherNOW).

“Miyazaki movies have a unique perspective in that they feature a female lead,” says one attendee, Maria Contreras, a Ph.D. student in social welfare at FIU.

From the delicate yet determined Chihiro in “Spirited Away,” to the curious and lively Ponyo in “Ponyo,” Miyazaki gives young women strong representations of female led narratives that have inspired them for generations. He has been a pioneer for this depiction of women since the start of his extensive filmography.

However, some attendees voiced their boredom in viewing the film. Perhaps this could be contributed to the late hour. But one recurring topic was prominent in all who expressed their opinions on the film: the resemblance to today’s issue of climate change.

In a time where climate change is causing global catastrophe to the environment, the younger generations are trying to find solutions to problems that have already had lasting consequences.

Nausicaä is a savior of the people who fulfills a prophecy that tells how one will make a significant contribution to allowing Earth to heal. She does not feel that all is lost. This is a message that reaches many people, including those that have lost hope in saving humanity and believe that solutions to climate change are for naught.

Nausicaä being displayed as the savior, fulfilling the prophecy. (Acquired from IMDB).

Nausicaä feels an obligation to help heal the environment. The indignation that she feels towards the damaged state of the ecosystem is enough to make her risk her life for all of Earth’s inhabitants, including the creatures mistreated by the careless military who do not consider the lives of others.

Further, the similarities between the Toxic Jungle (a toxic, deadly woodland with an abundance of parasites) and the global pandemic we have endured for the past two years are indisputable. In the film, those who passed through the Toxic Jungle were unable to breath without masks. As Nausicaä merely mentioned the action of wearing masks, the audience audibly scoffed.

“The youth led the older generation. The younger ones were innovative and found solutions,” says Accacia Russell, an FIU alum with a Master of Social Work.

Even at a time where the issue of climate change was not highlighted, Hayao Miyazaki proves yet again how he is ahead of his time by drawing attention to its lasting consequences.

To anyone doubting the capability of the youth to use our voices, “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” demonstrates just how powerful words and determination can be, even to situations that seem far gone.


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