2575 Bancroft Way (Between College and Telegraph)
Berkeley, California CA

Members’ Special Event: Letters from Iwo Jima

Clint Eastwood in Person

At once brutal and delicately layered, Letters from Iwo Jima presents a perspective seldom seen in Hollywood cinema: that of America’s “enemy.” But Clint Eastwood’s companion piece to his World War II epic Flags of Our Fathers is far too intelligent to promote a view of the world in simplistic terms of “good” versus “evil.” Short on supplies and abandoned by their crumbling command, Japanese troops on the island of Iwo Jima struggle to hold off American forces in a battle that is, at best, a symbolic last stand. The film intercuts their futile fight with reminiscences of prewar life, told through flashbacks and voiceover recitations of letters written to loved ones. Two characters form the film’s heart: the U.S.-trained General Kuribayashi (Ken Watanabe) and Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a young soldier who hopes to return to his wife and newborn child. Eastwood doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war but nonetheless finds something heroic in Kuribayashi and Saigo: a compassionate humanism that endures even the most terrifying conditions.

—Jonathan L. Knapp

• Written by Iris Yamashita. Photographed by Tom Stern. With Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase. (141 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Color, ’Scope, 35mm, From Warner Bros.)

Official Website: http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/film/FN17289

Added by Enric on December 26, 2008