Taking the question of why Clint Eastwood made two movies as her point of departure, film scholar Rikke Schubart explores the construction of “us” and “them” in Letters From Iwo Jima. Rather than portray American soldiers as “us” and Japanese soldiers as “them,” the film presents both groups of soldiers as equally humane and capable of doing both good and evil. The enemy is not a nation, that is neither the Japanese nor the Americans, but the blind idea of nationalism. In a present day perspective, the film represents a new ethical and global awareness of a conflict between a transnational humanism and nationalism in the American war film. Schubart thus argues that Eastwood should be interpreted as a “minor utopian,” an expression coined by historian Jay Winter in his Dreams of Peace and Freedom (2006).
Eastwood's Iwo Jima: Critical Engagements With Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, 2013, p. 173-194
clint eastwood; war film; letters from iwo jima; flags of our fathers; film and empathy