Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Official Crimefile Review of LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA

In mid October I was treated to a screening of the Clint Eastwood, Steven Speilberg first offering, Flags of Our Fathers. I had no clue they made a second film to tell the other side of this story. Today I saw this screening in Hollywood.

In every war as the bodies of the dead are collected it’s those personal effects found that tell the story behind the life that was snuffed out by the horrors of combat. They are the photographs of the families and those heartbreaking letters. War is dehumanizing and too often motions pictures never show the other side of the conflict. The World War II films from Hollywood used ethnic slurs like kraut or Jap to describe hateful and faceless enemy soldiers. The truth is that it’s always the conscripts who fight to maintain their way of life in their own country. These lads are sent fight all wars started by politicians and dictators.

For the Japanese soldiers there was no glory in their shameful defeat. Unimaginable hardship, fear and loneliness are always the constant companion of the combat soldier. Imagine going home to an enemy occupation of your homeland if you survived the war.

This epic is told from the point of view of, Saigo a young husband, father to be that had his little family bakery shut down and his equipment confiscated by his government for the war effort. Soon he was drafted to presumably die for his country. A 22-year old actor, Kazunari Ninomiya rocked in this role hopefully to an Oscar Award. .

Ken Watanabe, convincingly plays, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi and is at the top of his game acting in both English and Japanese.

I can’t recommend either of these two contenders enough as must see films.

The official website.

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