Friday 25 May 2007

Letters from Iwo Jima

Marc & I went to the cinema last night. We saw the second film in a 2 part series directed by Clint Eastwood about the battle on the island of Iwo Jima off the coast of mainland Japan during the second World War. We saw the first film, Flags of our Fathers, last month, which told the story from the American perspective.

Letters from Iwo Jima tells the story from the Japanese perspective and is entirely in Japanese with subtitles. Normally, this would be me off. Not that I mind subtitles. But my husband is dyslexic and he finds subtitled films really difficult and not enjoyable. Because we found so much satisfaction from the first film, he agreed to give the second one a go.

We were not disappointed. This is an incredible tale of the dehumanisation of an enemy during war. Soldiers are trained to forget that the people fighting against them are human being with flaws, fears, and families just like themselves. This was particularly interesting given the fundamental "banzai" notion of the Japanese military, ie, fighting until death is the only honourable action. it was this notion that kept the American forces fighting on the island for 35 days despite the Japanese being seriously under prepared and under manned. The Americans were technologically superior in every way.

But the Japanese resisted for 35 long days. In the end, the US Marine Corp suffered 6,891 deaths. But the Japanese had 19,788 soldiers die. That's almost 3 times!

The Japanese soldiers believed that to surrender would dishonour your family and your country. The American military allegedly shot soldiers who did surrender reinforcing the Japanese perception that the Americans were savages. So they fought to the bitter end.

The film is not as blood and gut gory as Flags of our Fathers was, thank god! You still need a pretty strong stomach but see it if you can. See them both!

Big Thanks to Gill (next door neighbour) for babysitting. Don't know what we would do without and can't imagine what life will be like after you move!


Janell said...

Did either film address the unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor? Or the Japanese invasion of the Phillipines? Or the kidnapping of hundreds of thousands of Chinese teenage girls to be used as prosititues by their military? Or the Bataan Death March? Just wondering...

LaDawn said...