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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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Letters from Iwo Jima and Choosing the Enemy in Risk Society

(p.263) Banzai!
Eastwood's Iwo Jima

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines whether individuals, soldiers, or directors can change history or the course of war in relation to late-modern society by focusing on Clint Eastwood’s 2006 film Letters from Iwo Jima. In particular, it looks at the relationship between Eastwood’s narrative of war, Japanese Banzai warriors, and al-Qaeda’s contemporary suicide bombers. It also explores the issues of war, citizenship, and sacrifice within the context of modern identity. Drawing on Ulrich Beck’s concept of “risk society,” the chapter argues that our perception of future results informs the choices of the present. It concludes that “in a society where identity is something you choose, assuming the identity of war is also a choice”.

Keywords:   military history, war, Clint Eastwood, war film, Letters from Iwo Jima, Banzai warriors, al-Qaeda, suicide bombers, Ulrich Beck, risk society

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