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Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (Nagisa Oshima, 1984) wr. Nagisa Oshima, Paul Mayersberg, from Laurens van der Post novel The Seed and the Sower, prod. Jeremy Thomas, dp Toichiro Narushima; David Bowie, Tom Conti, Fyuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi, Jack Thompson; Japan/NZ

Roger Ebert:
It's awkward, not because of the subject matter, but because of the contrasting acting styles. Here are two men trying to communicate in a touchy area and they behave as if they're from different planets. The overstatement in the Japanese acting ruins the scene. It's strange: Japanese acting styles never bother me in all Japanese movies (especially not when they're modulated, as in the contemporary films of Kurosawa). It's only when you have actors who are clearly on different wavelengths that the Japanese histrionics become distracting. What this movie needed was a diplomatic acting coach. Roger Ebert.

Janet Maslin:
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence can be brutal and blunt, not just in its scenes of hara-kiri (there are several of these) but in its occasionally stilted execution. The screenplay, by Mr. Oshima and Paul Mayersberg, has a curiously dislocated quality. Though it's based on a novel (''The Seed and the Sower'') by Laurens van der Post, the film seems almost more Japanese in its New Zealand sequences than it does in the prison camp. New York Times.

Aaron Hillis:
From Oshima’s later career ..., most notable is this bilingual, end-of-WWII tearjerker about forgiveness and understanding between cultures, which could have been dubbed The Man Who Fell to Java. A parachuting major with a secret (David Bowie) is captured and brought to a Japanese prison camp run by a repressed gay captain (pop star Ryuichi Sakamoto, who also composed the very-’80s synth score) and his crude underling (Takeshi “Beat” Kitano), who first greets the new inmate upside-down. “What a funny face. Beautiful eyes, though,” deadpans a bemused Bowie, in what seems a tailored role. Who else could eat a flower as a forceful act of POW defiance? Village Voice.

References and Links

Wikipedia page.

IMDb page.

Garry Gillard | New: 8 May, 2022 | Now: 8 May, 2022