War movies usually propagate some kind of political agenda, to justify the needs of such a war, or to glorify the countries on one side of the war and depict the enemy as ‘heartless monsters’.
The ‘Battle of Iwo Jima’ between the United States and Imperial Japan was a turning point in the World War II. US forces aimed to seize the island of Iwo Jima which was near to the main land of Japan, so that they could use the island as a base camp to start the invasion. The Imperial Japanese Army tried to prevent it from falling into American hands. Finally the strong US forces succeeded in taking over Iwo Jima after a gory battle.
In 2006, well known Hollywood actor and Film maker Clint Eastwood came out with two films telling the story of this violent battle from both US and Japanese perspectives.
‘Flags of Our Fathers’ is an English film which tells the life stories of the three US Marines who raised the US flag on the top of Mount Suribachi, at the end of the Battle. The US government projected the three men as heroes of war to raise funds for WW-II. The film pictures the emotional difficulties faced by this trio to digest the heroic image and to escape from the haunting memories of their mates. The film is narrated through the memories of one of those heroes.
‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ is made in Japanese language with popular Japanese actor Ken Watanabe in lead role. The film opens with a scene in which archeologists excavate a bundle from a cave in Mount Suribachi in 2005. The bundle contain the letters written by a General Kuribayashi and a soldier Saigo to their wives, during the Battle. The film is narrated through these letters, which gives a good glimpse at the lives of the soldiers during the War.
‘Flags of Our Fathers’ got 2 Oscar nominations and ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ got 4 Oscar nominations including the ‘Nomination for Best Picture’ in 2007. These 2 films honestly portraits the true emotions of a war- courage, honour, fear, pain, horror. Clint Eastwood conveys the message that there’s really no good guys or bad guys when it comes to war. And war is always futile.