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The Burden of Heroes
alaaron | October 16, 2006 at 10:57 pmby
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Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers adapts James Bradley and Ron Powers' book recounting the story of the three survivors of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. The event produced the most famous photographic image of the war, and the men were returned home to lead a war-bond tour, during which they were heroically--and, in their view, erroneously--lionized. Almost simultaneously with Flags, Eastwood, 76, made another film, Letters from Iwo Jima, that tells the story of the battle from the Japanese point of view. To be released Feb. 9, it's a horrifying account of men forced into a suicidal defense of the island by an imperial state. Its leading figures are two soldiers who question such fanaticism. The two films constitute a meditation on the nature of heroism, and the director sat down with TIME's Richard Schickel (a longtime friend) to reflect further on the topic.