Letters from Iwo Jima

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Letters from Iwo Jima ★★★★ 2006 (R)

Recounts the dramatic 36 days of battle on Iwo Jima that began in February 1945, as told from the Japanese viewpoint. Serves as a companion to director Eastwood's “Flags of Our Fathers.” Facing a completely lopsided confrontation, the 22,000 Japanese military men kept about 110,000 American troops in combat far longer than anticipated under the guidance of the gifted Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi (Watanabe), whose letters to his wife provide the story's narrative. Setting a somber tone for the horrific losses incurred by both sides—nearly 21,000 Japanese and 7,000 Americans—are the muted colors used by Eastwood, who admirably captures the humanity of the Japanese men as they confront the impossible mission ahead. In direct comparison to “Flags,” the ending has the Japanese viewing the raising of the American flag in the distance rather than closeup. First screenplay by Yamashita after being a research assistant on “Flags.” In Japanese with subtitles. 145m/C DVD, Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD . US Ken(saku) Watanabe, Tsuyoski Ihara, Shido Nakamura, Kazunari Ninomiya, Ryo Kase; D: Clint Eastwood; W: Iris Yamashita, Paul Haggis; C: Tom Stern; M: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens. Oscars ‘06: Sound FX Editing; Golden Globes ‘07: Foreign Film.