Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

MerryChristmasMrLawrenceposterBBB.5

(out of 5)


There’s so much worth taking from this haunting adaptation of the novel by Laurens Van Der Post that you should ignore its weaknesses and watch it.   and  are superb as British officers who are prisoners in a Japanese POW camp during the Second World War. Their sadistic commanding officer (, a character based loosely on Yukio Mishima) rules the camp with an iron fist, and yet can’t help the deeply felt, almost erotic connection he feels with the defiant Bowie, who refuses to be pushed around by anyone. Conti, on the other hand, fluent in Japanese and more humble in nature, does his best to keep everyone safe and sound through his mediation efforts, but isn’t always successful. The cinematography is gorgeous and Sakamoto’s score also a huge plus, but the screenplay is weak and falls completely apart in the last third. The climax that the film promises to build to never really happens, which is a shame because of the excellent work that all the actors are doing.


National Film Trustee Company, Cineventure Productions London, , Oshima Productions, TV Asahi, Broadbank Investments, Antares-Nova, Jeremy Thomas Productions

United Kingdom/Japan, 1983

Directed by

Screenplay by Nagisa Oshima, , based on the novel The Seed and the Sower by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Cannes 1983

The Criterion Collection


MerryChristmasMrLawrence

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