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Friday, February 16, 2007

Letters from Iwo Jima - /* love, Mom */

After a TCM movie weekend filled with the likes of 30 Seconds Over Tokyo, Flying Tigers and They Were Expendable
comes this disturbing personal and intense look at the battle for Iwo Jima seen from the Japanese perspective.

Clint Eastwood's second directorial foray into the story after Flags Of Our Fathers is ambitious and accurate. The two films share the same body of research with the latter written by Iris Yamashita,more being the story of how General Tadamichi Kuribayashi [ Ken Watanabe ] led his army troops in this forsaken piece of Japan, the manipulated film lends a muted emotion to the affair seen in low contrast.

An archaeological excursion in 2005 digs back into the truth of what happened to the island at the end of the second world war. The island is a memorial with only a shell of what once was, left behind are the series of caves excavated by the labour of the soldiers for the defence of Iwo Jima, itself a coveted stepping stone because of Iwo Jima being just 650 miles from Tokyo.

"They can have this island" complains Saigo, one of the young soldiers trying to survive amidst the sand, the heat, the water and the dysentery. Back in his home of Nagano, he was but a simple baker with a wife and expected child, here he is expected to fight with honour. However as Kuribayashi leads his twenty thousand troops against the invasion by the American fleet, he tells them do not expect to return home. No survivors.

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