Tuesday, January 13, 2015






Angelina Jolie on How Japan May View ‘Unbroken’

 
Angelina Jolie at a luncheon for American Film Institute Award winners.Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI
We’ll know early Thursday whether Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken,” which, after months of anticipatory hoopla, was toasted by the American Film Institute but received no Golden Globes love, will land one of the Academy’s best picture nominations. Another place where “Unbroken’s” reception remains unknown is Japan, where the book on which the film is based has not been translated and the country’s wartime past is the subject of debate. Though the film has yet to open there, there have been reports of outrage.

The movie depicts the harrowing years that Louis Zamperini spent in a Japanese internment camp as a prisoner of war, subjected to merciless beatings by a sadistic officer, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, nicknamed the Bird. The role was played by the Japanese rock star Miyavi, who conceded that he threw up after one particularly vicious scene. Mr. Zamperini, a devout Christian, would later in his life visit his former guards in Japan to offer his forgiveness – the Bird refused to meet him — and run a leg of the Olympic torch relay there.

During an interview earlier this season, the Bagger asked Ms. Jolie whether she took into account the potential reaction in Japan when she was making her film.

“I think you can only do as well as your intention is, and I know my intentions towards Japan as a country is love,” she said, then added, referring to her adopted children, “My family is Asian, and I have a great affinity for the country.”

But she noted that “Unbroken” is a tale set amid war, “and I was representing Louie’s story — Louie’s story comes with a harsh reality, but Watanabe does not represent Japan.”

Zamperini, who died in July, spoke of the guards who helped him. “It’s much more complicated than simply my side, and your side, or good and bad,” Ms. Jolie said. “To understand that is to be able to really address the deeper issues, and move forward in a comprehensive way, and get him to that place where he was running in Japan.”

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