Nagisa Oshima

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

In this captivating, skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Oshima, David Bowie regally embodies Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Rock star Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also composed this film’s 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 Kitano in his first dramatic role, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash, and one of Oshima’s greatest successes.

Film Info

  • Nagisa Oshima
  • United Kingdom, Japan
  • 1983
  • 123 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.78:1
  • English, Japanese
  • Spine #535

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition master, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • The Oshima Gang, a 1983 making-of featurette
  • New video interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Paul Mayersberg, actor Tom Conti, and actor-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Hasten Slowly, an hour-long 1996 documentary about author Laurens van der Post, whose autobiographical novel was the basis for the film
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens and reprinted interviews with director Nagisa Oshima and actor Takeshi Kitano
    New cover by Lucien S. Y. Yang

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition master, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • The Oshima Gang, a 1983 making-of featurette
  • New video interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Paul Mayersberg, actor Tom Conti, and actor-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Hasten Slowly, an hour-long 1996 documentary about author Laurens van der Post, whose autobiographical novel was the basis for the film
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens and reprinted interviews with director Nagisa Oshima and actor Takeshi Kitano
    New cover by Lucien S. Y. Yang
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Cast
David Bowie
Celliers
Tom Conti
Lawrence
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Yonoi
Takeshi Kitano
Hara
Jack Thompson
Hicksley
Johnny Ohkura
Kanemoto
Alistair Browning
De Jong
James Malcolm
Celliers's brother
Credits
Director
Nagisa Oshima
Producer
Jeremy Thomas
Based on the novel The Seed and the Sower by
Sir Laurens van der Post
Screenplay
Nagisa Oshima
with
Paul Mayersberg
Executive producers
Masato Hara
Executive producers
Eiko Oshima
Executive producers
Geoffrey Nethercott
Executive producers
Terry Glinwood
Associate producer
Joyce Herlihy
Music
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Production designer
Jusho Toda
Director of photography
Toichiro Narushima

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Explore

Nagisa Oshima

Writer, Director

Nagisa Oshima
Nagisa Oshima

Japanese cinema’s preeminent taboo buster, Nagisa Oshima directed, between 1959 and 1999, more than twenty groundbreaking features. For Oshima, film was a form of activism, a way of shaking up the status quo. Uninterested in the traditional Japanese cinema of such popular filmmakers as Kurosawa, Ozu, and Naruse, Oshima focused not on classical themes of good and evil or domesticity but on outcasts, gangsters, murderers, rapists, sexual deviants, and the politically marginalized. He began as a studio filmmaker, and had a hit with the jazzy Cruel Story of Youth (1960), but left Shochiku when the powers that be there pulled his politically incendiary Night and Fog in Japan (1960) from circulation. Oshima then struck out on his own, becoming an independent director and even starting a production company, Sozo-sha, where he made such popular and aesthetically diverse films as the pinku eiga, or “pink film,” Pleasures of the Flesh (1965); Violence at Noon (1966), which contains more than two thousand cuts; Sing a Song of Sex (1967), a dreamlike investigation of libidinous, politically confused youth; and Death by Hanging (1969), a surreal, meditative film about social injustice. With his late-seventies international coproductions, the sexually graphic In the Realm of the Senses (1976) and the visually raw ghost story Empire of Passion (1978), Oshima became an art-house sensation in Europe and the U.S., riling moviegoers there much as he had at home. Made in 1999, Oshima’s final film, Taboo, a portrait of homosexual longing among samurai, is the perfect expression of his continued desire to provoke.