Wednesday, January 17, 2007
clint eastwood - the double whammy

Two more movies that had my complete attention and grabbed my heart as well are "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Flags Of Our Fathers"....Clint Eastwood's most definitive twin war movies, ever. These films are quite amazing. "Letters" particularly is a very moving heart breaking film and the other side of the story of this extremely important period in the history of WW 2....The island of Iwo Jima was probably the most important piece of land in the progression of the war between the United States and Japan because it was actually Japanese soil . Most people of a certain age are familiar with the famous photograph at the top of this post of our six soldiers (5 marines actually and one navy man) putting up the flag on the top of Mt. Suribachi to show that the Americans had captured this very strategic island...and the subsequent "back story" of what happened and how it happened and the men involved....particularly Ira Hays' story...but, what Clint Eastwood has done in both these films is to show us the pain of war and what it does to destroy men (and women) emotionally and psychically, as well as physically, no matter what side you are on....For me personally, I found "Letters" the more touching and 'real' film....maybe because Japanese is spoken throughout the film. I was never distracted by feeling or thinking I was watching, humanizing the 'enemy', which Japan was back then, is the true brilliance of the writing and the acting and direction of this film. One should see "Flags Of Our Fathers" first and then as soon as you can, see "Letters", because they fit together like a puzzle, but you need to see the first part of the puzzle to really get the full impact of the second part of this amazing and extremely powerful puzzle....The truth is, these two films are really one film---one story....and the impact is quite devastating and I think a really important contribution to understanding certain things about war----particularly this war, but it could be any war, anywhere, in any age, including right now.

Clint Eastwood has done a masterful job of showing us the two sides of this story and how much we are all really alike. And if given the chance to really 'see' one 'know' one another if you will, the people we are at war with---our so called enemies, are, underneath the surface differences, just like us in many many ways.....He shows us the horror of war in very graphic and sometimes visually shocking terms, bringing home the true lasting horrors that those who go through the fighting and dying carry with them forever and ever....It is truly artful what he has done, and one feels these films---particularly "Letters From Iwo Jima" will last forever----and will stand the test of time....Neither of these films is easy to watch, but the rewards are great if you are able to give yourself over to the subject. Of the two, "Letters" is probably the more difficult because you have to read the english dialogue, but I found it as I said earlier, the more moving and powerful of the two films....But I think it is the accumulative effect, too....seeing "Flags" first, one has certain information and we gain a familiarity with this island and we have already been pulled in emotionally so that when watching the 2nd film or as I would say the second half, the impact of the previous film deepens the second film. It is all a very very powerful and meaningful experience. Bless Clint Eastwood (on the left in the picture above with the great great Ken Watanabe) for having the understanding and passion and heart to do these two films, and Steven Spielberg for Producing them, too....Another example of a very important history lesson that touches our hearts because it is given to us in such an artful way.....

had this to say:

I haven't sene these films but I will especially after reading your post about them which has given them 'substance' if you knwo what I mean? Sort of bought them to life a bit.

I found it interesting when you said that 'Letters' humanised the other side in the war, as a German film that I saw as a teen did exactly the same thing in the UK. It was called 'Das Boat' and told the story of the crew of a German U Boat. You really went through everything with them and I remember being on the edge of my seat hoping that they would make it against their protagonists wwhich were the Allies!

Thanks for your comment about the Sony ad. I saw a short film on the making of it and they actually did use real balls! When I first saw the ad I thought they had used CGI too, (we are so used to seeing it these days) but the Director said that he wanted to use real balls so they pretty much cleaned the stock up in the US! The footage is amazing as you see them filling giant hoppers up with these balls and just letting them go and then scooping them up with spades. The crew often had to hide behind clear shields to stop getting bombarded with the balls! :-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 1:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Clint Eastwood just amazes me. He picks one great film to direct after another. I loved his speech and I loved Warren Beatty's speech poking fun at Clint! I have not seen these two but I will. I've enjoyed everything he has ever done!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:18:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I too was glad Easwood was honored. I bet no one (NO ONE) really ever thought that " the Outlaw Josey Wales" could do such a thing! :o)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 8:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I usually don't watch war films, as they sicken me. Maybe I can wait and see these at home on DVD; somehow the horrors are not quite so bad on the small screen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 9:57:00 AM PST 

Anonymous Lyn M.
had this to say:

Asalways you write with flair and a heart and I personally applaud Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg for bringing us the opportunity to see the films you reviewed. Can't wait to see both these films that are so important and meaningful to our times, particularly now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 5:55:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I always enjoy your write-ups about movies. I'm really not much of a movie watcher myself, I'm not sure why. BUT I do enjoy reading about movies. Especially the way you write about them. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 7:03:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I haven't seen either of these movies ... I'm not into gory war flicks. But I enjoyed your posting on them.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 7:16:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I remember with Saving Private Ryan I was crying in the first two minutes of the film! I'm looking forward to seeing these two...eventually. Clint's work has real inegerity.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 8:08:00 PM PST 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

I will have to put these on a list. Nyssa hasn't seen Schindler's List either. She was too little to understand it when it was first out but we have a copy. My dad loves movies about history. I found him a documentary of the lost color war reporter film from WWII. It is quite good.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 8:25:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I would say that Clint Eastwood is not just a talented actor but a talented director as well.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 4:10:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for the heads up at the top of your blog. I didn't realize you were still posting below the singer's post. I haven't seen these movies yet but was interested in seeing them. I'll have to put them on my Netflix list. Thanks for the reviews.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 5:17:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I can only imagine just how valuable these films will be to teacher across the country.
Great post.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 2:03:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

My husband is a WWII history buff, so he's been wanting to see "Flag of Our Fathers." Netflix alerted me it'll be released on DVD Feb. 6, so we'll be getting it.
So it was good to read that you thought it was well done and I'll look for Letters as well, as I knew there were two out. One from the American point-of-view and the other from the Japanese. So thanks for these reviews.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 2:27:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I will have to see them all!! Thanks for the review. So sorry i've been lost lately.......I am trying REALLY hard to get it together. I miss you, I will email soon. PROMISE!! P.S. I am LOVING my new calendar, and people are noticing it and it's so fun to tell how I got it!! XOXOX

Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 8:16:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I also like Clint Eastwood and I agree with Chase, he is a great director, as well! I haven't seen either of these movies but I would like to see all them! Love your movie's review, you made a good work, Naomi! Well done!

Friday, January 19, 2007 at 4:23:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Why do I feel that Clint is successfullt doing what Mel Gibson is *trying* to do..? Make astonishingly thoughtful films about subjects usually swept under carpets.

Dirty Harry done good! Bet even Clyde would be impressed (left hand turn, Clyde!)

And with the added attraction of the stunningly impressive Kensake Watanabe? Makes it even more watchable.

Great post Naomi - and I see you were right in your prediction about Dreamgirls! :-)


Friday, January 19, 2007 at 11:15:00 AM PST 

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