story of the Bloggs and the Bomb..."
There's going to be a war, and Jim and Hilda
Bloggs intend to prepare for it
with the aid of official government guidelines. Their
plucky spirit and stiff upper
lip helped defeat the Nazis. Now they'll do it
again. Only, this is a different kind
of war altogether, fought at a distance,
by an unseen enemy, with terrifying
consequences. And sadly for Jim and Hilda,
no amount of camaraderie or
steadfastness can defeat it...
This is TVC's adaptation of Raymond Briggs'
courageous picture book.
The original work was a tough read, produced
at the height of the Cold War
with Ronnie Reagan's finger hovering over the Big
Red Button and our own
government issuing woefully inept documentation
to steer us all through the
effects of nuclear war. If anything, the animated version
is even tougher than the
book. The filmmakers animate the Bloggs in
traditional cel form, overlaying them
against a blend of three-dimensional
sets and photo-art backgrounds which
heightens the surreal reality of the Bloggs'
decline. Their escapist thoughts
are presented in free-flowing sequences, their
wedding memories are a sepia
vignette. What a contrast with the reality
of their situation. Their bright little
home has the colour blown out of it, a grey
mist descends, and their own
cheery faces mottle and turn like time-lapsed
appear to be united about the film's impact and integrity, whilst
any criticism at its lack of commercial prospects.
They're probably right. But this
was never conceived as a Disney film. There
are no Happy Ever Afters here, no
fluffy sidekicks to deflect the mood.
The Bloggs are dying, and we're going to watch
them die. The fact that it's two 'sweet' hand-drawn
and painted cartoon characters
being subjected to these horrors makes it even
Jim and Hilda take to their makeshift shelter.
They get sick. They get lesions.
Their hair falls out. But right up to the
end they never once complain. Their
optimistic belief that The Powers That Be will
see them through is heartbreaking
to watch. But the film makers don't want us
to be too sad or sentimental for
these two old-timers. Roger Waters' bitter score
urges us to respond, to
reproach the authorities who let this happen. For
this is supposed to be a
warning - as that edgy title track from David Bowie
says - this is what will
happen, when the wind blows...
film was the second collaboration between Briggs and TVC - the first
the award-winning short
film The Snowman. Adaptations
of Father Christmas
Bear have followed...
score for WTWB was given a distinct edge by Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd
fame. It's as bleak and
uncompromising as the images it accompanies...
and Hilda are based in part upon Briggs' own parents Ethel
Ernest spent the greater
part of his working life employed as a Co-op
Milkman, doing the
rounds day-in, day-out in Wimbledon...
and Hilda Bloggs first appeared in Raymond Briggs' 1979 picture book
Jim. It's a lighter tale in which we see Jim in his capacity as
lowly toilet cleaner for
the council. He runs into trouble whilst attempting to
live out his fantasies
for a more exciting life and eventually finds himself up
before the magistrates,
charged with highway robbery. Though not as
dramatic as "Wind"
it shares the same theme of the proletariat, hamstrung
by Red Tape and officialdom...
Producer Iain Harvey now runs Illuminated Films, where he and
director Jimmy Murakami
teamed again to bring us Christmas
and Illuminated have also produced
the multi-award winning film
the Wind Blows on DVD
the Wind Blows
2 / Channel 4 / September
Jimmy T. Murakami
exec prod: Iain Harvey
Briggs - from his book
title track sung by David Bowie
Peggy Ashcroft (Hilda Bloggs)
Mills (Jim Bloggs)