Jimmy Teru Murakami

Jimmy Teru Murakami is an artist, animation director and producer who has made an exceptionally meritorious contribution to the film and television industry. His colleagues include Ernest Pintoff, George Dunning, Richard Williams and James Cameron.

In Bendazzi's book, One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation, he aptly describes Jimmy as - 'globe trotter of animation'. Over five decades, he has worked in California, New York, Japan, France, Italy, the Netherlands, England and Ireland where he has finally settled. Murakami's short films have been acclaimed around the world, including his animation feature-directing debut with When the Wind Blows in 1985.

Jimmy was born and brought up in America. His mother and father were first and second generation Japanese-Americans. In 1952 Jimmy was offered a scholarship to study at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Mrs. Chouinard herself had followed Jimmy's progress from high school and said to him, "Jimmy, you must become an artist" to which Jimmy answered "but I want to become a doctor - a brain surgeon in fact" and he went to college for six months to study medicine before deciding that he might prefer to be an artist. It was during the years studying fine arts that he met fellow student and animator Chuck Jones who became famous for characters such as Road Runner, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.

Jimmy noted that Chuck created wonderful life drawings and would remind him whenever they met that he should have been a fine artist rather than an animator of bunnies and ducks. If Chuck was here today, - he might utter the immortal words from Bugs Bunny - "Jimmy….What's up Doc?"

Jimmy began work at United Productions of America (UPA) studios that was established by a group of Disney animators led by John Hubley who broke away from the Disney studios in 1941. He soon became a designer and storyboard artist with Ernest Pintoff and Fred Crippen and eventually worked as a layout artist on the first Mr. Magoo feature film, 1001 Arabian Nights, released in 1959.

He eventually set up his own studios with partner Fred Wolf and together they produced a huge amount of commercials. Murakami/Wolf Films became one of the biggest animation commercial production studios in America employing over a hundred artists.

Although the commercial business took precedence, throughout his career Jimmy has been dedicated to creating his own personal short films of unique and fascinating subjects and design. They include, The Insects, which won a BAFTA in 1965 for Best Animated Film. Breath which was awarded the Annecy International animation film festivals Grand Prix award in 1967 and in 1969 he was nominated for an Oscar for his short film, The Magic Pear Tree.

However, it was his involvement with the animated features, The Snowman and When the Wind Blows that helped him to become well known to a wider audience.

In 2005, The Animation Guild of America honoured Jimmy with 'The Golden Award' in recognition of his achievements as a veteran of the animation industry. The award is given exclusively to key artists who have contributed to the highest standards of animation production and is one of the most respected accolades to be presented from the industry. (via)

Reflections of Jimmy T. Murakami



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 1



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 2



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 3



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 4



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 5



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 6



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 7



When the Wind Blows (1986) - Part 8

Ante la inminencia de una guerra nuclear, James y Hilda, una pareja de jubilados que vive una apacible existencia en la campiña inglesa, construye un refugio en su hogar siguiendo las instrucciones de los folletos que ha repartido el gobierno. Los anunciados misiles soviéticos caen y los alrededores de la casa son brutalmente devastados, pero los ancianos logran sobrevivir...
Basada en el cómic de Raymond Briggs, autor también del guión, "Cuando el viento sopla" aborda el siempre sobrecogedor tema del holocausto nuclear, desde una perspectiva intimista. El director, Jimmy T. Murakami, renunció a las extravagancias de su anterior película -"Los siete magníficos del espacio" ("Battle beyond the stars", 1980)- y dejó los actores de carne y hueso para interesarse por la suerte de los Bloggs, una entrañable pareja de ancianos que, a pesar de su condición de dibujos animados, consigue transmitir al espectador sensaciones de emoción y ternura.

Los responsables de esta interesante producción renuncian a la espectacularidad y el tremendismo que propicia tema tan escabroso como el de la destrucción nuclear; en vez de mostrar la agonía colectiva, se centran en la tragedia cotidiana de sus viejos protagonistas para mostrar a través de ellos, con gran cariño y sensibilidad, las nefastas consecuencias de la estupidez humana. Así, sin grandes estridencias, el lento proceso hacia la muerte de los Bloggs logra interesar y hasta emocionar, y es la adecuada dosificación de los elementos dramáticos y no su indiscriminada acumulación -tentación fácil hábilmente evitada- la que consigue este efecto.
"Cuando el viento sopla" es una película con dos únicos personajes que, por imperativos de la edad, se mueven trabajosamente y actúan poco; salvo los primeros minutos de metraje, el escenario se reduce al hogar de los Bloggs y su pequeño huerto; los diálogos, en cambio, son constantes incluso en los momentos de agonía física. La arriesgada premisa de trasladar al universo del dibujo animado una historia de concepción básicamente teatral funciona gracias al cuidado guión de Briggs. Otra de las grandes bazas es la banda sonora de Roger Waters y David Bowie, que sin ser nada excepcional sí posee el suficiente atractivo para enganchar a un sector del público. Por otra parte, la inclusión de secuencias especiales responde siempre a una función dramática y no a la simple experimentación visual: las fantasías heroicas de James y las dulces ensoñaciones de Hilda contribuyen a definir los personajes y los hacen aún más vulnerables e indefensos; la secuencia de la boda opone con admirable sensibilidad poética los apacibles años de juventud de los Bloggs al cruel destino que les reserva su vejez; otras veces se trata de aliviar con humor y fina ironía la creciente sordidez del relato.

En la versión original, "Cuando el viento sopla" cuenta con las voces de los oscarizados John Mills, como Jim, y Peggy Ashcroft, en el papel de Hilda. Este toque de prestigio se cuida también en la versión doblada al castellano, que cuenta con el buen hacer de los veteranos Fernando Rey e Irene Gutiérrez Caba.
Gran Bretaña, 1986. Título original: When the wind blows. Director: Jimmy T. Murakami. Autor (novela gráfica): Raymond Briggs. Guionista: Raymond Briggs. Productor: John Coates. Productor ejecutivo: Iain Harvey. Música: Roger Waters. 80 minutos. Dibujos animados. (via)