Theatrical Release Date: 22 Oct 2004
Home Ent. Release Date: 23 Jan 2005
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence unites rock legend David Bowie and the inimitable actor-director Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano (Zatoichi) in an intense social drama set in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp during World War II. When British soldier Jack Celliers (David Bowie) arrives at the PoW camp in Java starved and tortured, his arrival disrupts the delicate social structure of the camp and incites both admiration and distrust. The Japanese find it difficult to understand why the prisoners in their camp would have surrendered instead of killing themselves to retain their honour. Caught between the divided factions is liaison officer John Lawrence (Tom Conti), the only person in the camp to speak both English and Japanese, who struggles to help each side understand one another. Captain Yanoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto), the idealistic commandant who runs the camp, shows an unusual amount of interest in Jack and the relationship between them is fraught with sexual tension. Similarly, guard sergeant Gengo Hara (Takeshi Kitano) finds it difficult to accept the growing friendship between himself and Lawrence. Directed by Japanese auteur Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses ) and produced by Jeremy Thomas (The Dreamers, The Last Emperor), Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence was originally released in 1983 and remains a riveting exploration of racism, brutality and the sparks that fly when cultures collide.