11 July 2010
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Everything happens in threes.
So basically: Saigo is a a baker who has been called to serve his country at Iwo Jima in World War II. The story is told through his perspective as he digs tunnels in the mountains of Iwo Jima and defends the island against American soldiers. His journey takes him through all three defences as he tries to survive the war. General Kuribayashi also adds to the narrative and part of the story is told through his perspective: of a Japanese General in charge of Iwo Jima, who has a background in American democracy, as he spent time overseas when he was younger.
Of course it took an American crew to create a Japanese war movie (that generates a lot of praise). I'm kind of angry about that, but I did like this film. Yey Nino (From Arashi, a j-pop band) who plays Saigo. You know he doesn't belong in war, which makes his character all the more believable as he fights to get home and see his wife and daughter. Which is really what this movie is about. Two men, Saigo and Kuribayashi, who want to get home and be with their families. It's a powerful film. My history teacher said he didn't like it because he liked his war movies to have a bit more war in them. I kind of agreed with him on my first viewing - I remembered more of Saigo's story than any of the fighting. And it is true that the battle doesn't start till 45 minutes into the picture, but it does show the war from the Japanese point of view very well.
This movie deserves to be on the list, not as a war film, but because of Saigo and Kuribayashi.
Ziggi seal of approval!