Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

"I can't ask your forgiveness. It's too cruel."

The depth of empathy in that statement astounds me. Understanding the emotional labor you are asking of someone when you ask their forgiveness is a crucial part of understanding injustice, because forgiveness is a crucial part of justice. You cannot ask forgiveness before you earn it; to do so requires the survivor of injustice to swallow the injustice. You not only inflict harm, you emphasize the gap in power between yourself and them, and then you make a demand of them, re-emphasizing it. This is why Nausicaa's foot must burn in the acid of the lake before the ohm child can forgive her; she must be made equal to the target of injustice her species inflicted (either the torment of the baby ohm or the death of the world, whichever you prefer). This goes so far beyond a baby ohm and a princess, though--apply it to all injustice before asking others to do... anything for you.

I was struck in the opening moments by how the toxic forest reminded me of every depiction I've seen of the cherry blossoms falling, but warped and broken. That twisting of natural beauty told the entire story. Details remained unclear (was this Earth or somewhere else?) but the fundamental truth was there (this was a version of what we know and love turned vile). Somewhat directly, this peeled itself to reveal an environmental and anti-nuclear message, but the core of it echoes out beyond those self-destructive concerns. Those echoes might be drowned out by the insistence of the film's setting and themes to address nature (from the wind to the bugs to the natural perils of cloud and quicksand), but human interaction (especially war) is also ever-present. This is as much, then, about our relationships with each other as about our relationships to the world--and that allows the direct line between the two. If we do not repair our own interactions, we doom the entire world.

And it must be said, the insect designs were eerily beautiful.

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