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The Troubled Conscience of Iwo Jima

letters-from-iwo-jima-poster-1.jpgClint Eastwood saw Letters From Iwo Jima as an opportunity to examine the uneasy Japanese conscience during World War II. This is a side of war that American films have always been slow to portray; a search for humanity behind enemy lines. But Clint’s not alone.

In 1987, Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun explored a Japanese prisoner camp from the point of view of an English boy (played by then-unknown Christian Bale). That was a rare enough look at the power the Japanese wielded over surrounding nations, and the toll this exacted from its enforcers as well as its victims. More recently in Snow Falling on Cedars, Scott Hicks probed WWII anew by examining America’s own internment camps which imprisoned over 120,000 people of Japanese descent. The love story and murder mystery contained therein threaten to overwhelm an entire town.

Eastwood’s Iwo Jima brings these themes back to the homeland, where troops on the doomed island question their individual roles in the war, but know what defeat would mean for their families and their nation. When the Americans arrive onshore and the epic battle begins, the tragedy that unfolds is both personal and political. Count on Eastwood to know what takes real bravery: forging ahead no matter who’s winning.

Letters From Iwo Jima debuts on AMC, Sat. February 16 @ 8PM | 7C. Click here for the movie’s full schedule this month .

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