Eastwood’s Two Iwo Jima Films

Director Clint Eastwood has promised that Flags Of Our Fathers and Red Sun, Black Sand, which will both hit screens later this year, “will attempt to show for the first time the suffering of both sides during 36 days of fighting in early 1945 that turned Iwo Jima into a flattened wasteland. He describes Red Sun, shot in Japanese and with a largely Japanese cast, as his attempt to understand the country’s soldiers. ‘I think those soldiers deserve a certain amount of respect,’ he said. ‘I feel terrible for both sides in that war and in all wars. A lot of innocent people get sacrificed. It’s not about winning or losing, but mostly about the interrupted lives of young people. These men deserve to be seen, and heard from.'” — Justin McCurry in Tokyo, writing for the Guardian in a piece than ran two days ago.

  • Alexander

    That’s a great quote. It makes me want to see these two films all the more now.
    Do we have a definitive date for Falgs of Our Fathers? Shouldn’t we be getting a trailer soon?

  • Roy “Griff” Griffis

    Eastwood seems to have mellowed into almost a folk singer of cinema, now that he doesn’t have the pressure of being “The Number One Box Office Star in the World.” As a director, he creates art that is spare, and relies more on evoking emotion than bludgeoning it out of the viewer. The book “Flag of our Fathers” is great source material, and Eastwood, of anyone working today, will knock it out of the park. The fact he had the balls, the basic human decency to want to show the other side of story, is a tribute to him, as well. This is a much more worthy film duo than soulless crap like “Kill Bill 1/2″

  • Nicol D

    Is it the balls and decency to show both sides or just the knowledge that showing a sympathetic view of American soldiers won’t play well in Hollywood right now.
    It’s not a coincidence that the Japanese side is the one that is being released at awards time.
    Similarly, in Hollywood showing the ‘other’ side isn’t exactly what I would call courageous nowadays.
    A courageous film would take a stand and have an opinion.

  • Jason

    Wow, Nicol, could you be any more cynical? Did you ever stop to consider that perhaps Red Sun is being released later because they started working on it later? In addition, the studio wants some separation between the two films in the marketplace. It makes perfect sense.

  • Rob

    Flags opens Oct 20. Not sure what Paramount’s plan is for Red Sun. One argument I’ve read – and it seems plausible – is that Par will want to focus Oscar attention on Flags which means holding RS back until at least the nominations have been announced late January. Roy, agree with the praise for Eastwood. Million Dollar Baby was beautifully crafted. He’s the best American director currently working. Am greatly looking forward to Flags and Red Sun.

  • Kyle

    There is no one cooler than Clint Eastwood. No one.

  • Chuck

    Clint Eastwood is a perfectly suitable director and his Hemingwayish approach can be moving, but his choice in subject matter tends to lean toward frustrating, obvious Oscar bait, especially Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River, two of the more overrated American films released in the last decade. Eastwood will never be the finest working American filmmaker as long as Robert Altman is still active, even a slumming Scorsese or Allen merits more attention, or films from the next generation such as Paul Thomas Anderson or Alexander Payne.

  • Rob

    :his choice in subject matter tends to lean toward frustrating, obvious Oscar bait, especially Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River, two of the more overrated American films released in the last decade.
    If you think the likes of Altman, Allen & Scorsese are better filmmakers than Eastwood then we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But I can’t let this lame Oscar-bait accusation pass without comment.
    M$B was about a girl boxer who gets paralysed, loses her leg, chews her tongue off & then gets killed by her manager. Seriously, in what parallel universe is any of this deemed Oscar-bait? To make matters worse boxing-themed movies were regarded as commercial suicide by the studios. It had been a long, long time since any boxing movie had been a hit with the public. And if M$B was so Oscar-baity then why did WB initially refuse to make it? Why did every other studio in town pass on it? WB only grudgingly agreed in the end because of Eastwood’s long relationship with Warners. Even then they told him he’d have to find half the budget elsewhere. And Mystic River – pretty much the same story. Warners took one look at the subject matter and said ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. So Clint shopped it around & none of the other studios were interested. It only got made in the end for pretty much the same reasons as ‘Baby’. Seems to me your accusations of Oscar-baity subject matter would be better aimed at some of those directors you’ve amusingly listed as being better than Eastwood.

  • lindenen

    Given the behavior of the Japanese during WWII (Rape of Nanking, colonialism, Bataan Death March, they even had their own Joseph Mengele, etc), I wonder if Clint will next make a movie about the Nazi side of the war declaring ‘I think those soldiers deserve a certain amount of respect,’ about Nazi Germany? Doubt it. Ignorance is bliss in Hollywood.

  • Dixon Steele

    Eastwood is a genuine icon and Mystic River was brilliant.
    Million Dollar Baby was very good, but Sideways was better and should’ve won Best Picture. IMHO

  • Daniel Zelter

    Didn’t they already cover the same ground with Thin Red Line and Tora Tora Tora?
    lindenen: There already was a “sympathetic” look at the nazis. It’s called Downfall. But yeah, I don’t feel sorry enough for the Japanese getting nuked as long as they keep denying their war crimes.

  • Daniel Zelter

    Well to be specific, the neo-nationalists like Koizumi rub me the wrong way in that regard. They’re brain-washing the children into provoking another war with Korea and China they probably won’t even win this time around.

  • Boone Carlyle

    Every country has its horrors in war. As I recall…didn’t we drop several A-bombs on civilian cities? Oh yeah, I forgot…it was ok because we dropped them.

  • Chuck

    “M$B was about a girl boxer who gets paralysed, loses her leg, chews her tongue off & then gets killed by her manager. Seriously, in what parallel universe is any of this deemed Oscar-bait?”
    Conveniently leaves out the ninety minutes of cliche and stereotype that are the film’s first two acts. The movie is about a loser from the wrong side of the tracks who, against all odds, achieves unimaginable success. The coach is, of course, grizzled and reluctant at first, but the underdog is so darn persitent that he can’t help but get involved, and…so forth.
    The difference is Million Dollar Baby shoehorns yet another cliched sports scenario: that of the tragic athlete cut down just as he’s (or she) is about to achieve unimaginable success. Eastwood has taken two, yes, oscar bait, scenarios (look up the various films that use it and have been rewarded by Oscar, Rocky won over sell out awards hokum like Taxi Driver and Network) and given them a grittier than usual polish, the film is well directed, and Eastwood’s legacy in this medium is undisputable, but he chose a shitty script, and I hadn’t even gotten started on the laughable caricatures that were Swanks’ family in the film, or the ridiculous sub plot between the Morgan Freeman character and the bully.

  • Daniel Zelter

    Boone: “Every country has its horrors in war. As I recall…didn’t we drop several A-bombs on civilian cities?”
    Still only a fraction of deaths compared to those of Nanking and the Holocaust. Plus the Japanese were ready to die for their Emperor, who put his own people’s lives at risk, because he didn’t want to admit defeat, even when Japan clearly lost long before the bombs dropped.

  • Nicol D

    “I wonder if Clint will next make a movie about the Nazi side of the war declaring ‘I think those soldiers deserve a certain amount of respect,’ about Nazi Germany?”
    Exactly. The hypocrisy of the relativist argument really gets shown up here.
    If the other side is just as noble and their cause just as right…what is worth fighting for?
    Sad to see Clint gone down morally relativist lane.

  • Duck of Death

    Wow the FoxNews morons are here in full force. Ok, how about Clint shows how the Japanese soldiers weren’t even human…they were created from the earth by an evil (read:secular humanist) warlock as a favor to his evil lord in Mordor. He can show them drinking human blood and sacrificing babies too! Then we can all cheer when the pure Americans, incapable of wrong or immorality stride in on white horses, w/ old glory flapping in the wind to save serveral damsels in distress(white protestant conservative virgins of course) while “Battle Hymn of the Republic” plays in the background. Oh yeah, and give the Japs fangs and pointy ears. Oh, moral relativism? How about ‘Manifest Destiny’ and the American Indian? How does that fit into your idea of moral relativism, my Rethuglican friends?

  • Nicol D

    Duck,
    So I’ll take your answer to mean that you would like to see a film that humanizes the Nazi’s and show them worthy of honour.
    Just so we can get you on record.

  • Duck of Death

    “So I’ll take your answer to mean that you would like to see a film that humanizes the Nazi’s and show them worthy of honour.”
    Well you indicate by your question that you believe all humans are honourable…surely Nicol, you don’t believe that, do you? Do humans ever murder, Nicol? IF they do, then showing Nazis murdering other human beings would be humanizing them wouldn’t it? You have an incredibly naive view of the human race, you should get out more. I am always fascinated by people who need to mischaracterize what you say in order to try and make a point. I’m pretty sure I said nothing about Nazis or movies that “humanize” them. FoxNews has made your mind null and void, you’re trying to use Bill O’Reilly’s techniques for murdering reason against someone who is not a hillbilly or a brain-dead christian. Try again. BTW…how many movies have you seen that “humanized” American historical characters who were involved in the genocide of the American Indian? My guess is a least a few…did you march out of the theater in protest of this attempt to “humanize” these monsters? My guess is…sadly, no.

  • Travis B.

    I don’t really see how making two movies depicting two sides of a war is provoking such a hostile response. Both sides committed equal atrocities. Sure, the Japanese committed horrible acts such as what occurred in Nanking, but did our own country not force Japanese-Americans (not to mention other Asian-Americans) into internment camps? I believe it was “The Fog of War” where Robert McNamara stated that our leaders would have been put on trial for war crimes had we not won World War II. War brings out both the best and worst in people and I think (I hope) that is what Eastwood is intending on showing in these films.
    As for humanizing the enemy (Japanese or Nazis), I do believe that the current Pope was a Hitler Youth. While I have my own issues with this, for the people who are questioning the moral relavance of showing the war from the enemy’s point of view, does this mean that the Pope has no moral relevance because of his Nazi association? If anything, this shows that there is some sort of moral ambiguity on any side of a war.
    That being said, there is something somewhat inspiring for a person such as Eastwood, who is in their twilight years, turning out work that is as good, if not better than they were in their prime, especially in a society that seems to dismiss it’s elders once they hit a certain age.

  • Daniel Zelter

    Duck of Death: “Ok, how about Clint shows how the Japanese soldiers weren’t even human…”
    They certainly didn’t act human.
    “they were created from the earth by an evil (read:secular humanist) warlock as a favor to his evil lord in Mordor. He can show them drinking human blood and sacrificing babies too!”
    It’s kind of tough to argue for the concept of “relativism” and simultaneously argue that it’s only wrong when W.A.S.P.s are racist.
    “Then we can all cheer when the pure Americans, incapable of wrong or immorality stride in on white horses, w/ old glory flapping in the wind to save serveral damsels in distress(white protestant conservative virgins of course) while “Battle Hymn of the Republic” plays in the background.”
    Well in the case of WW2, our actions were generally more humane than the actions of the Axis. That’s not to say Dresden and the internment camps weren’t horrible mistakes, but we probably saved more lives than we ruined and destroyed, which is about the best you can hope for in a war.
    “Oh yeah, and give the Japs fangs and pointy ears.”
    Um, they made propaganda films of us too.
    “How about ‘Manifest Destiny’ and the American Indian? How does that fit into your idea of moral relativism, my Rethuglican friends?”
    Actually, I voted for Nader and Kerry in 2000 and 2004, and took two Native American studies courses in college. And I know wars based on lies when I see them. (For example, WWI, Vietnam, and now Iraq.) But in the case of WWII, we tried to reason with the Japanese and Germans, believing them to be sovereign entities who had legitimate grievances like other nations. But they believed
    that those grievances were entitlements to do what they pleased, and they started raping and pillaging to their hearts’ content. Then they decided to pick on countries their own size, and paid with their lives. History is written by the winners, and I’m sure if they won, they’d be calling us the aggressors.
    “BTW…how many movies have you seen that “humanized” American historical characters who were involved in the genocide of the American Indian?”
    I haven’t seen any film which actually praises Andrew Jackson. I think I’ve heard him mentioned in the Davey Crocket Disney movies, though…
    There was The Patriot, but the studio changed the character when they found out about his historical background. Didn’t see Pocahontas, either…But I think the difference is people(generally) know that Hollywood takes liberties with historical accuracy, while Downfall tells the audience, “That’s exactly how it was.”
    Travis: “I don’t really see how making two movies depicting two sides of a war is provoking such a hostile response. Both sides committed equal atrocities.”
    Not really. Their side wiped out at least 20 million people. We probably only took out a fraction of that number. And on top of that, we actually paid to re-build their countries while Germany’s only recently agreed to repatriate for its slave labor, and Japan still refuses to compensate the survivors.
    “Sure, the Japanese committed horrible acts such as what occurred in Nanking, but did our own country not force Japanese-Americans (not to mention other Asian-Americans) into internment camps?”
    Internment camps weren’t a pleasant place to be in, but at least we didn’t round up the Japanese-
    Americans to be exterminated and used for human experiments. Although I guess the Tuskegee experiment pretty much negates my latter argument, but we still didn’t round them up and force them to be there. (That happened under slavery…) So, um, yeah, I think the difference is that we were just less extreme at the time than they were, even if we can’t be considered morally superior to them.
    “I believe it was “The Fog of War” where Robert McNamara stated that our leaders would have been put on trial for war crimes had we not won World War II.”
    But instead of feeling remorse, McNamara continued to support war crimes in Vietnam.
    “While I have my own issues with this, for the people who are questioning the moral relavance of showing the war from the enemy’s point of view, does this mean that the Pope has no moral relevance because of his Nazi association?”
    The real question is how can a Pope who represents an institution responsible for the Crusades, the forced conversion of Indians, the denial and refusal to speak out against the Holocaust, the subjugation of women, discrimination against gays, and the protection of hetero pedophiles have any moral relevance? It’s like they just picked the ex-Nazi to lead, because they didn’t care anymore.
    They just want Benedict to say whatever is convenient, which is how you can sum up his speech at Auschwitz.
    “If anything, this shows that there is some sort of moral ambiguity on any side of a war.”
    I don’t disagree, but I do think most people are sheep(or as my professor liked to call them, “ants”) who choose whatever’s convenient, rather than avoid confrontation. So while not all followers of Hitler necessarily believed in his ideology, they supported the system, not because of fear(well, not entirely, anyway), but because they prefered to have other people tell them what to do so they don’t have to make their own decisions. And I guess you can use a
    contextualization of that argument for Benedict. He probably believed that’s what God wanted him to do, which is who he can blame instead of himself for supporting the system like every other robot.

  • Nicol D

    Daniel and Travis,
    During WWII all German male youth were required to join the Hitler Youth or be punished. They and hence the young Ratzinger had no choice.
    Ratzinger’s father was a police officer and risked his life to help Jews during the 2nd world war.
    I am not surprised at your garrish, genralized bigotted and misinformed views of Catholics…hey you’re the DaVinci generation!
    But if you want to come off as intelligent, you should do better than listen to what your neo-Marxist radical feminist prof says.
    History is much more complex and it did not start with the summer of love in 1968.
    When you listen to him/her…you sound like the ‘ant’.
    “…hetero pedophiles…”?
    Daniel, you obviously know quite a bit about who was committing the majority of the crimes in the church scandal or you wouldn’t have went out of your way to obfuscate the truth now would you.
    The majority of victims in the Catholic Church scandal were post adolescent boys abused by male priests.
    When you deny this you come off as no better than those people in the church who tried to cover it up in the first place and do dishonour to those young men whose lives were destroyed.
    You also show what your real agenda is.

  • Rob

    He’s 76 today! Many Happy Returns, Mr Eastwood.

  • Travis B

    Nicol
    I don’t really see how pointing out that the Pope was a Hitler Youth makes me anti-Catholic or bigoted. We were having a discussion about morality in war, and I was trying to use the Pope as an example of someone who eventually deserted their own military. If I recall, some of the arguments were being based on absolutes, all Japansese military personnel were evil, horrible people, all U.S. soliders are good and honorable. Thus, bringing the Pope into the argument was to show that moral ambiguity when it comes to specific solidiers. Maybe I missed the point (as you most definitely have), but that is what I was trying to get across. Next time I’ll be more clear.
    Daniel
    I agree with you about the disproportion in atrocities between the Allies and the Axis in terms of sheer population. But, the Nazis did learn their human experiments from American eugenic scientists. And the Americans did eventually firebomb Japanese cities causing massive destruction and huge civilian casualties. An atrocity is still wrong no matter if it’s towards one person, or 100 million people.
    As for my real agenda? Eh, I’m just defending these two movies that I’ve never seen and won’t see for several months. haha

  • patric

    There is nothing in the Clint Eastwood quote above that suggests he is in sympathy with the Axis powers or that their ’cause was just’. He is simply making a movie about the enemy soldiers. Humanising the Germans and Japanese isn’t some new ‘politically correct’ phenomenon. They did it in Mrs. Miniver and other films while the war was going on!

  • Nicol D

    Travis,
    Saying the Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth because he was forced to due to law, escaped at his own peril and worked to help Jews is fine and true.
    Saying the Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth with no explanation in my experience reeks of anti-Catholic stereotypes.
    If you meant the former than no worries.
    Best

  • Duck of Death

    Daniel,
    Don’t bother try ing to reason w/ Nicol D. He/she seems to mischaracterize what you say so that he/she can then make point. Its a tactic most bed-wetting conservatives learned from watching Bill O’Reilly and the other idiots on FoxNews. I responded to, and challenged those who think merely portraying WW2 era japanese soldiers as humans and not bloodthirsty alien monsters is tantamount to “honoring” them. To Nicol, this means I’m pro-Nazi. You pointed out that the Pope was once a Hitler youth as a way to show that things aren’t always black-and-white. To Nicol, you are an anti-catholic bigot. You see, the bed wetters no longer have the ability to reason, years of FoxNews and Bill Kristol’s columns have effectively commited genocide on their brains. You are right about one thing Nicol, history doesn’t begin w/ the summer of love, it also doesn’t begin w/ World War 2. You are so concerned about the morality of showing the perpetrators of WW2 as anything resembling human beings (which they were, I’m sorry you have such a hard time accepting that), then why have you not responded to what I said about our country’s own genocide…that of the American Indian. People like you were probably raised on westerns(you certainly see the world like its a John Wayne movie), were those people humanized? Surely many of the characters who populate the american western movie are characters who must have played some role in the “Indian Wars”. Do you refuse to watch westerns out of your strong moral sense? The world is not black and white, despite what O’Reilly or Britt Hume say Nicol. The world and humanity are very, very complex. I think part of growing up is realizing this.

  • kimi98