Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

123 mins.
Directed by Nagisa Ōshima
R
Japanese with subtitles, English
1983
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Tue, 6/18

In this captivating, skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Ōshima, David Bowie regally embodies Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also composed the hypnotic score) plays the camp commander, obsessed with the mysterious blond major, while Tom Conti is the British lieutenant colonel Lawrence, who tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between captor and prisoner. Also featuring actor-director Takeshi "Beat" Kitano in his first dramatic role, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash, and one of Ōshima’s greatest successes.

With this affecting drama, Ryuichi Sakamoto made not only his acting debut but his film scoring debut. The magical title track emerged as one of Sakamoto's most beloved and enduring musical calling cards.