William Broyles, Jr. and Peter Haggis (screenplay), based on the book by James Bradley and Ron Powers, Clint Eastwood (director) Flags of Our Fathers / 2006
Iris Yamashita (screenplay), Clint Eastwood (director) Letters from Iwo Jima / 2006
True to my pattern of doing things, I saw Clint Eastwood’s magnificent diptych, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima in early 2007 in the reverse order from which they were released. After seeing Flags of Our Fathers (the second film of my viewing), I observed to my mate, Howard, that had I seen that film first, I might not have been so eager to see its companion. That is not to say that Flags is not a significant film, but simply that, without the context of the more coherent and darker second work, it functions in a much more scatter-gun, even disjunctive manner that is simply not as fulfilling to its audience.
Los Angeles, January 19, 2007
Reprinted from Nth Position [England], February 2007.
* One must recognize that Japanese culture is also highly involved in and enchanted by symbols, a point Eastwood brings up in his film. As a young military student, Shimizu is commanded to enforce the rule that all houses display the Japanese flag, an incident which, when he also is commanded to destroy the family’s dog—an order he disobeys—results in his dismissal from military college and in his being posted to Iwo Jima. It is particularly notable, therefore, that the three major figures of Letters from Iwo Jima spend their last days in epistolary communication.