Letters from Iwo Jima
This is one of a pair of films that Clint Eastwood made about the Battle for Iwo Jima, a key confrontation between the US and the Japanese in World War Two. The other film, Flags of Our Fathers, is told from the perspective of American soldiers. For me, it’s the less successful of the two, and is a fairly standard depiction of the horrors and futility of war. But Letters from Iwo Jima is different. This film depicts the very same battle, but from the perspective of Japanese soldiers. And here’s the really amazing thing: the film is shot entirely in Japanese. This added element of being in a different language really catapults the film into the group of top empathy movies. One really starts to understand the viewpoint of the Japanese soldiers. Not just the hopelessness of the situation in military terms, but the variety of their reactions and personalities. Each of the main characters becomes truly humanised and individualised. The uniforms almost dissolve to reveal the unique people inside them.