Last night after a beautiful Sunday drive in the Manche (seriously! not a cloud in the sky, no wind and a springy 16C!) Mystery Man and I headed off to the movies to catch Letters from Iwo Jima. I had been dying to see this movie ever since I saw Flags of our Fathers last fall. If you haven't already heard about these movies they are brillant films done by Clint Eastwood basically telling different sides to the same story.
In Flags of our Fathers we have only the American perspective of the battle of Iwo Jima from the few soldiers who raised the flag and the propoganda flurishing Stateside. In Letters from Iwo Jima, however, we have only the Japanese side of the story told by a few soldiers stationed on the island. It is a poetic and beautiful film, even more so by the subtle expression and emotion that comes through in the men's voices, especially the impressive Ken Watanabe. I would hate to know that this movie is released dubbed... And I would like to know how Clint Eastwood directed a movie only through the work of translators... impressive!
It is a captivating story that we don't often have these days, WWII story told by the "enemy." I felt that the key moment in the story is when the Japanese officer reads out a translation of a letter sent by an American boy's mother. Not only was it a moving letter, but you could see the realization by the Japanese soldiers listening (who had never even met an American before) that dispite all the speeches to the contrary - they were all the same. That is what hits you the hardest, dispite the vast cultural differences between those American and Japanese soldiers they had all left behind family and friends and were there fighting for their cause (or is it just their country's cause??).
I could never go off and fight in a war, that is one thing I know for sure.
(I don't really think it would be important to have seen Flags of our Fathers before seeing Letters from Iwo Jima, as they are complete films in themselves and seeing one before the other shouldn't make any difference...)