This is going to be fascinating.
When Clint Eastwood’s two films about Iwo Jima, one of the darkest periods of the Pacific War, reach cinemas this year, audiences could be excused for forgetting the man behind them was once the trigger-happy Dirty Harry.
The 75-year-old director has promised Flags Of Our Fathers and Red Sun, Black Sand will attempt to show for the first time the suffering of both sides during 36 days of fighting in early 1945 that turned the island into a flattened wasteland.
On a recent trip to Japan, Eastwood said his time on Iwo Jima had forced him to re-evaluate the one-dimensional portrayal of America’s former enemy in so many war films. ‘There were good guys on one side. Life isn’t like that,’ he said.
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.’