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Eastwood's Iwo JimaCritical Engagements with Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima$
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Anne Gjelsvik and Rikke Schubart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165655

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165655.001.0001

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Eastwood and the Enemy

Eastwood and the Enemy

(p.173) Eastwood and the Enemy
Eastwood's Iwo Jima

Rikke Schubart

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Clint Eastwood’s 2006 films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima and how they differ in making the audience see the enemy. Based on the viewer emotions generated by the films, it argues that Flags of Our Fathers calls for our empathy with characters and Letters from Iwo Jima for our sympathy. Reading General Tadamichi Kuribayashi as a tragic hero whom the audience sympathizes with, it suggests that viewers gain a new understanding of the enemy, sacrifice, and nationalism from Letters from Iwo Jima. The essay sees Eastwood as a “minor utopian,” a director with the courage to question “history” and “truth” by showing us plural perspectives and, in the end, creating a vision of a better world: a world with combatants but without enemies.

Keywords:   audience, enemy, Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, empathy, sympathy, Tadamichi Kuribayashi, sacrifice, nationalism

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