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LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA - OSCAR NOMINEE 2007

 

Letters From Iwo Jima bags Oscar nomination

Clint Eastwood masterpiece Letters From Iwo Jima has received four nominations for the Oscar awards 2007.

22 January 2007

 

 

BY A CORRESPONDENT

Letters from Iwo Jima directed by Clint Eastwood

Letters From Iwo Jima has won the 2007 Oscar nomination for the Best Picture released in 2006. Directed by ace director Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima is a movie complimentary to the other Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers. While Flags of Our Fathers narrates the invasion of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima World War during World War -II from the American prism, Letters From Iwo Jima decribes the same from the Japanese point of view - a group of self-driven soldiers fighting impossible odds to save their country from a direct attack by the US. Apart from being nominated for Best director (Clint Eastwood), Letters From Iwo Jima has also been nominated for best Sound editing, by Alan Robert Murray. It has also received the Oscar nomination for Best original screenplay written by Iris Yamashita.

Oscar nominee for 2007 - letters from Iwo JimaFrom many accounts, Letters From Iwo Jima turned out to be far better than big brother Flags of Our Fathers. Letters From Iwo Jima is on par wth Unforgiven, and has been rated as Clint Eastwood's best movie ever.

Letters From Iwo Jima is a side-story to the greater story of World War-II. Imperial Japan is on the verge of defeat, but is no mood to give up. War is nearing its end. The island of Iwo Jima stands between the US and mainland Japan. This is the last post Japan must defend, to prevent a direct attack on Japanese soil by the Allied forces. Japan sends her soldiers to Iwo Jimo, knowing well that they may not return.

Letters From Iwo Jima follows the Japanese commander who must organize the defense of the isolated and unsupported forces, his friend Colonel Takeichi Nishi who was former comrade in the cavalry and 1932 Olympic Show Jumping gold-medalist, and of the ordinary soldiers.

The leader of Letters From Iwo Jima is General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, played by ace Japanese actor Ken Watanabe. Though he knows in his heart that it is a losing battle, his unconventional military strategies and charisma ensure that the battle for Iwo Jima, which was expected to be over in a jiffy, lasted for 41 days. Tadamichi Kuribayashi and his team held back the American forces for that many days from reaching mainland Japan, laying down their lives in the volcanic island sand of Iwo Jima.

Letters from Iwo Jima picture

In all, 7000 American soldiers and over 20,000 Japanese army men lost their lives in the battle for Iwo Jima. The ferocity of the battle can be gauged by the fact that more than one-fourth of all medals awarded to American marines in World War-II went to those who fought the Battle for Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima turned out to be the penultimate theatre of war in the Second World War.

For Americans and the Japanese, coming to terms with the Battle oof Iwo Jima has never been an easy task, just the same way as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Clint Eastwood makes a bold move to say both sides of the story with his dual story of Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. While a sense of expensive victory and martyrdom pervades the end of Flags of Our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima has no victory and no honour. The heroes of Flags Of Our Fathers return to a thumping welcome, while the heroes of Iwo Jima don't come home.

A cloud of stark defeat and gloom hangs heavily over the movie. At one point or the other, all the Japanese fighting the battle for Iwo Jima realise that this is the end of the road for them. The story is captured from the hundreds of letters unearthed later written by the soldiers to their near and dear ones, among them a baker who became a soldier during wartime whose sole desire is to see his newborn daughter in farway mainland. Kazunari Ninomiya, playing as Saigo the baker-farmer is full of hope even in the middle of overarching defeat - he wants to see his daughter once the battle for Iwo Jima is won.

General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, leading the defence of Iwo Jima, who has travelled the US knows that the battle for Iwo Jima is a lost cause. Ken Watanabe, one of the finest Japanese actors, has done perfect justice to his job. It is sad that he did get an Oscar nomination in 2007. Letters From Iwo Jima may bring another Oscar for Clint Eastwood - he has been nominated for the Best Director slot.

The resounding gunshots in gloomy Iwo Jima, across its sulphur sands and depressing landscape reverberate in one's mind long after the movie is over. The American marines who returned from Iwo Jima were hailed as the liberators, while Iwo Jima tells the untold story of the Japanese courage against heavy odds. Clint Eastwood has successfully told the other side of the heroic story of Flags of Our Fathers. Flags Of Our Fathers has also been nominated for Oscar awards in Best sound edting and sound mixing.

Cast of Letters From Iwo Jima

Ken Watanabe General Tadamichi Kuribayashi
Kazunari Ninomiya Saigo
Tsuyoshi Ihara Baron Nishi
Ryo Kase Shimizu
Shido Nakamura Lieutenant Ito
Hiroshi Watanabe Lieutenant Fujita
Takumi Bando Captain Tanida
Yuki Matsuzaki Nozaki
Takashi Yamaguchi Kashiwara
Eijiro Ozaki Lieutenant Okubo
Nae Yuuki Hanako (as Nae)
Nobumasa Sakagami Admiral Ohsugi
Akiko Shima Lead Woman
Lucas Elliott Sam

Awards won by Letters From Iwo Jima

Best Foreign Language Film at Golden Globe
Best Foreign Language Film at Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
Best Foreign Language Film at Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards
Best Foreign Language Film at Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
Best Picture at National Board of Review of Motion Pictures
Best Picture at Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

Letters From Iwo Jima was nominee at

Golden Globe Best Director - Clint Eastwood
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay, Original - Iris Yamashita
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Director - Clint Eastwood
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Director - Clint Eastwood
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Original Score

 

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