Iwo kara Tegami

Just finally watched Letters from Iwo Jima. This is another one that I've been sitting on for quite a while; I figured being home sick would be a good time to watch it. Of course, I forgot how depressing it was pretty much guaranteed to be; should have gone with something a bit lighter.

Which is not to say that it wasn't a good movie; it was very good. But it was a bit of foreshadowing of where things were going when we were introduced to the main character at the beginning, and his name was Saigo (likely 西湖, 西後, 斉梧, 齋梧, or 齊梧 (unfortunately, I couldn't find my name dictionary; I must have lost it in the move a few months ago. It still might turn up, though). But this was foreshadowing, because these names are homophones of 最期, meaning 'the end', or 'the last', or 'one's last breath', or something along those lines. In fact, the officers in the movie repeatedly said that they would fight 'saigo made', meaning down to the last man).

The film did a good job of showing how similar the soldiers of both armies were, particularly showing the similarities of letters sent home. Of course, the Japanese did not fight quite to the last man; there were 1083 captured.

It's hard to imagine, at this remove, how difficult the situation of the soldiers must have been, though. The movie did a good job of showing how short the soldiers were, of both food and water, but it's still hard to contemplate how difficult it would have been to try to fight for days on end without.

Eastwood did this movie as a companion piece to Flags of our Fathers, which I watched last year, but apparently never wrote up my thoughts on.

I learned a lot from that one about four of the five flag-raisers. Ira Hayes I was pretty well familiar with, because of the song Johnny Cash wrote about him. I was also previously unaware of how strapped for money the US was at the time.

Both of them are excellent movies. I'm not the biggest fan of Eastwood the actor (he doesn't have a whole lot of range), but he's a fabulous director, and both of these movies helped cement that reputation.

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