Letters from Iwo Jima
Release Year: 2006So Sad to Fall in Battle: An Account of War Based on General Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s Letters from Iwo Jima
Director Clint Eastwood
Writers: Iris Yamashita (screenplay & story), Paul Haggis (story), Tadamichi Kuribayashi (based on his letters collected in “Gyokusai sōshikikan” no etegami (“Picture letters from the Commander in Chief”), Tsuyoko Yoshido (based on his non-fiction book So Sad to Fall in Battle: An Account of War Based on General Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s Letters from Iwo Jima)
Starring: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryô Kase, Shidô Nakamura, Hiroshi Watanabe, Takumi Bando, Yuki Matsuzaki, Takashi Yamaguchi, Eijiro Ozaki
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Sound Editing. Nominated for 3 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay). Won 1 Golden Globe: Best Foreign Language Film. Nominated for 1 Golden Globe: Best Director. Nominated for 1 Saturn Award: Best International Film.
The Battle of Iwo Jima as told from perpesctive of Japanese Imperial Army.
The Battle of Iwo Jima is best viewed as a companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers (2006); the two were shot back-to-back and deal with the same WWII battle. Both work as individual films, viewed apart from each other, but seeing them as two parts of a whole does add something extra to them, really underscoring the theme of the inhumanity of the machinations of war clashing with the humanity of the individual. You cannot help but find someone to sympathize with on both sides, the fact of the matter being that few of these young men really want to be there. Letters from Iwo Jima focuses mostly on two characters. Firstly, the fictional Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a young man who dreams of returning in one piece to his young wife and newborn daughter, whom he has yet to see. Secondly, on the real-life commander of the Japanese forces, General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe); anerudite man influenced by his time in United States, which he remembers fondly, and spends much of his time writing letters to his family and clashing with more traditionally minded officers, whose outdated stategies and commitment to suicide rather than retreat, does nothing to help Japan against an American army which is vastly superior in numbers. The film has brutal violence and we are not spared anything when it comes to the grimness of war, but it is also filled with quiet and touching moments that will linger much longer than the battle scenes will. Although dealing with the same event, the film is tonally different from Flags of Our Fathers, subtly hinting at cultural differences between the opposing sides. A gory, thought-provoking exposition of the nature of war and a really mature war film from veteran director Eastwood (Pale Rider, 1985).
Most of the young Japanese cast in the film knew nothing about the events on Iwo Jima as the battle is not taught in Japanese schools.
Picture Copyright: Sandrew Metronome