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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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Suicide in Letters from Iwo Jima

Suicide in Letters from Iwo Jima

(p.231) Suicide in Letters from Iwo Jima
Eastwood's Iwo Jima

Robert Burgoyne

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the question of humanizing the Other and understanding the practice of honor suicide by offering a reading of Clint Eastwood’s 2006 film Letters from Iwo Jima. It looks at Eastwood’s use of the suicide theme as a frame in which history, ideology, and cultural differences are brought “into a close microscopic view.” It also considers the role of the letters, the voices, and the framing of suicide within cinematic discourse. It views the suicidal sacrifice as a speech act echoing the letters found in the ground at Iwo Jima and argues that Eastwood’s achievement is to make the “Otherness” of suicide less unfamiliar and to bring the past closer to the present.

Keywords:   honor suicide, Clint Eastwood, war film, Letters from Iwo Jima, ideology, letters, sacrifice, Iwo Jima, Otherness

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