Clint Eastwood says that his upcoming “Letters from Iwo Jima” will challenge the accepted American narrative of World War II in which Japanese enemy is portrayed as uniformly brutal. His follow up to “Flags of Our Fathers,” which opens next month, focuses on the same battle but from the other side, and the pic is in Japanese. Eastwood tells the Los Angeles Times’ Bruce Wallace: “When I grew up, everything was propaganda; we all thought that the Japanese tortured and killed people,” says Eastwood. “But it’s tough to swallow that everybody was that way. After all, some of the Japanese have a decent soul.” As in “Flags,” which is actually on top of the box office in Japan, “the great futility of war is explored in this picture.”
Writes Wallace, “The result of Eastwood’s efforts is a double shot of antiwar passion from a man whose conservative public image didn’t suggest that he would be caught running with the Michael Moore crowd. Listening to Eastwood bemoan the futility of war is a bit like watching Cagney’s gangster cry in “Angels With Dirty Faces”: It may be morally right, but it jars with what you thought you knew.”
Meanwhile, Ken Burns is getting ready to hold the first screening of his PBS doc on World War II, “The War,” at Dartmouth College on Dec. 1. He gets a bit political when comparing WWII to Iraq:
”When 9/11 happened what were you asked to do? Nothing. Go shopping. That’s what we were told,” Burns said. ”Go shopping. It’s ridiculous. Nobody said, ‘This is a war born of oil, turn your thermostats down five degrees.’ ”
There’s been much consternation that the doc will feature WWII vets using expletives to describe the war, leaving PBS exposed to indecency fines. PBS President Paula Kerger has vowed to air it in its entirety anyway next September.