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History Film / MerryChristmasMrLawrence

5th May '16 4:19:44 PM nombretomado
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''Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence'' is a 1983 film from Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, and is based on ''The Seed and the Sower'' by Sir Laurens van der Post. The film is set in a Japanese POW camp in Java during the [[{{World War II}} second world war]], and focuses on the [[{{culture clash}} clash of cultures]] and building tensions between the Japanese overseers and the British prisoners. Oh, and {{Foe Yay}}. An awful, awful lot of foe yay. Seriously, you guys. Until you see this film, you can not believe the foe yay. The DVD box claims it "hints at a sexual attraction between Celliers and Yonoi", but this is a lie. The film hints in the way a pneumatic drill hints at noise, meaning that you needn't worry. It's no spoiler.

Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto) is the [[{{incredibly lame pun}} straight]]-laced camp commandant, devoted to [[{{the stoic}} discipline]], order and his [[{{patriotic fervour}} beloved country]]. When he is called to attend the military trial of Major Jack Celliers ({{David Bowie}}), he is fascinated by the prisoner's display of honour and dignity and gets all hot and bothered. When Yonoi questions Celliers on whether he can prove he was tortured, Celliers gives him a Look, some proof (namely [[{{shirtless scene}} taking off his shirt]]), and it all goes downhill from there...

The situation is not helped by Hicksley, the prisoner rep, refusing point blank to furnish Yonoi with details of which prisoners are arms experts, stubbornly refusing to involve himself in any sort of attempts at cross-cultural understanding, and generally being an annoying and ignorant eejit. Caught in the middle of all this madness is the unfortunate [[{{The Woobie}} Colonel Lawrence]] (Tom Conti) of the title. A mild-mannered man, Lawrence attempts to bridge the cultural gap between captives and captors, not that it keeps him safe.

Examining power, cultural differences, tolerance, forgiveness and taboos, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence is very much a character and psychology driven film, because, let's face it, POW camps aren't known for their exciting itineraries. The film is also of note for being a Japanese film set in a Japanese POW camp, meaning the director shares nationality with those in charge rather than the prisoners.

The film appeared at the 1983 Cannes film festival, but seems to have existed under the radar as far as the modern world is concerned, lacking even a real internet fanbase outside of tumblr whisperings. Which, considering [[{{rule 34}} the internet]] and the aforementioned foe yay, is surprising. Perhaps its CriterionCollection DVD release in September 2010 will get the word out? [[spoiler: It didn't.]]

to:

''Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence'' is a 1983 film from Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, and is based on ''The Seed and the Sower'' by Sir Laurens van der Post. The film is set in a Japanese POW camp in Java during the [[{{World War II}} second world war]], UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, and focuses on the [[{{culture clash}} clash of cultures]] CultureClash and building tensions between the Japanese overseers and the British prisoners. Oh, and {{Foe Yay}}.FoeYay. An awful, awful lot of foe yay. Seriously, you guys. Until you see this film, you can not believe the foe yay. The DVD box claims it "hints at a sexual attraction between Celliers and Yonoi", but this is a lie. The film hints in the way a pneumatic drill hints at noise, meaning that you needn't worry. It's no spoiler.\n\n

Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto) is the [[{{incredibly lame pun}} [[IncrediblyLamePun straight]]-laced camp commandant, devoted to [[{{the stoic}} [[TheStoic discipline]], order and his [[{{patriotic fervour}} [[PatrioticFervour beloved country]]. When he is called to attend the military trial of Major Jack Celliers ({{David Bowie}}), (Music/DavidBowie), he is fascinated by the prisoner's display of honour and dignity and gets all hot and bothered. dignity. When Yonoi questions Celliers on whether he can prove he was tortured, Celliers gives him a Look, some proof (namely [[{{shirtless scene}} (by [[ShirtlessScene taking off his shirt]]), and it all goes downhill from there...

The situation is not helped by Hicksley, the prisoner rep, refusing point blank to furnish Yonoi with details of which prisoners are arms experts, stubbornly refusing to involve himself in any sort of attempts at cross-cultural understanding, and generally being an annoying and ignorant eejit. Caught in the middle of all this madness is the unfortunate [[{{The Woobie}} [[TheWoobie Colonel Lawrence]] (Tom Conti) of the title. A mild-mannered man, Lawrence attempts to bridge the cultural gap between captives and captors, not that it keeps him safe.

this is a guarantee of safety.

Examining power, cultural differences, tolerance, forgiveness and taboos, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence is very much a character and psychology driven psychology-driven film, because, let's face it, because POW camps aren't known for their exciting itineraries. The film is also of note for being a Japanese film set in a Japanese POW camp, meaning the director shares nationality with those in charge rather than the prisoners.

The film appeared at the 1983 Cannes film festival, but seems to have existed under the radar as far as the modern world is concerned, lacking even a real internet fanbase outside of tumblr whisperings. Which, considering [[{{rule 34}} the internet]] and the aforementioned foe yay, is surprising. Perhaps its CriterionCollection DVD release in September 2010 will get the word out? [[spoiler: It didn't.]]
prisoners.
5th May '16 4:15:57 PM nombretomado
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* DavidBowie: Looking much grubbier and even more demented than usual.



* RuleThirtyFour: {{Subverted}} - despite the beating, bondage, whipping, obsessions with discipline and control, hierarchical power structures, canonical {{Foe Yay}}, [[{{stalking is love}} watching people while they sleep]], and DavidBowie there is next to no fanfiction about this film on the internet.

to:

* RuleThirtyFour: {{Subverted}} - despite the beating, bondage, whipping, obsessions with discipline and control, hierarchical power structures, canonical {{Foe Yay}}, [[{{stalking is love}} watching people while they sleep]], and DavidBowie Music/DavidBowie there is next to no fanfiction about this film on the internet.
12th Feb '16 8:56:42 AM Declyn
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* HeroicBSOD: I would argue there is a second HBSOD going on at that exact moment as [[spoiler: Celliers steps back after the kiss and a brief look of terror (realizing he's just sealed his horrible fate, whatever it turns out to be) flashes across his face before he stoically settles it again]].

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* HeroicBSOD: I would argue there is a second HBSOD going on at that exact moment as [[spoiler: Celliers steps back after the kiss and a brief look of terror (realizing he's just sealed his a horrible fate, whatever it turns out to be) fate) flashes across his face before he stoically settles it again]].
11th Feb '16 8:14:13 PM Declyn
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Added DiffLines:

* HeroicBSOD: I would argue there is a second HBSOD going on at that exact moment as [[spoiler: Celliers steps back after the kiss and a brief look of terror (realizing he's just sealed his horrible fate, whatever it turns out to be) flashes across his face before he stoically settles it again]].
30th Oct '15 10:54:15 AM Morgenthaler
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!!''MerryChristmasMrLawrence'' provides examples of:

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!!''MerryChristmasMrLawrence'' !!''Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence'' provides examples of:
5th Sep '14 10:30:48 PM JakesBrain
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* TitleDrop: By [[spoiler: Hara]] at [[spoiler: the end of the film.]]

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* TitleDrop: By [[spoiler: Hara]] at [[spoiler: the end of the film.]]Hara]], twice.
21st Mar '14 9:42:48 PM Fireblood
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* AllStarCast: Both DavidBowie and [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] were chosen for their status as well-known musicians in their own countries. The film also stars Creator/TakeshiKitano as Sergeant Hara.
* BilingualDialogue: Averted - Yonoi and Lawrence are the only people in the camp who are fluent in both languages. The others simply have to guess at what is being said.

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* AllStarCast: Both DavidBowie and [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] were chosen for their status as well-known musicians in their own countries. The film also stars Creator/TakeshiKitano as Sergeant Hara.
* BilingualDialogue: Averted {{Averted}} - Yonoi and Lawrence are the only people in the camp who are fluent in both languages. The others simply have to guess at what is being said.



* IronyAsSheIsCast: "I wish I could sing" and "I've had no romantic interludes of any real importance" from the mouth of DavidBowie. Well, the film was made before he met Iman...
* UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar: The Geneva convention is invoked regularly by Hicksley, despite the fact that Yonoi claims it does not apply.

to:

* IronyAsSheIsCast: "I wish I could sing" and "I've had no romantic interludes of any real importance" from the mouth of DavidBowie. Well, the film was made before he met Iman...
* UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar: The Geneva convention is invoked regularly by Hicksley, despite the fact that Yonoi claims it does not apply.apply (Imperial Japan never signed it).



* MagneticHero: Although being in a POW camp prevents the formation of any sort of merry band, Celliers seems to be one of these. Despite being of a lower rank and not knowing him particularly well at the outset, Celliers is immediately recognised by Lawrence, who is delighted to see him and speaks high praise of him to Yonoi. He is described as a natural leader, and assumes the role when [[spoiler: he defies the fast imposed by Yonoi]]. And his magnetic hero qualities are almost certainly related to [[{{even the guys want him}} what's bothering Yonoi]].

to:

* MagneticHero: Although being in a POW camp prevents the formation of any sort of merry band, Celliers seems to be one of these. Despite being of a lower rank and not knowing him particularly well at the outset, Celliers is immediately recognised recognized by Lawrence, who is delighted to see him and speaks high praise of him to Yonoi. He is described as a natural leader, and assumes the role when [[spoiler: he defies the fast imposed by Yonoi]]. And his magnetic hero qualities are almost certainly related to [[{{even the guys want him}} what's bothering Yonoi]].



* ObligatoryWarCrimeScene: Plenty, actually. [[{{The Woobie}} Lawrence]] is frequently the victim, playing a starring role in exciting features such as [[spoiler: being beaten brutally and left hangingby his hands from a tree overnight]]. Another example [[spoiler: Yonoi forcing the sick and dying prisoners to assemble, despite the medic's desperate plea that it's a war crime]].

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* ObligatoryWarCrimeScene: Plenty, actually. [[{{The Woobie}} Lawrence]] is frequently the victim, playing a starring role in exciting features such as [[spoiler: being beaten brutally and left hangingby hanging by his hands from a tree overnight]]. Another example [[spoiler: Yonoi forcing the sick and dying prisoners to assemble, despite the medic's desperate plea that it's a war crime]].



* RuleThirtyFour: Subverted - despite the beating, bondage, whipping, obsessions with discipline and control, hierarchical power structures, canonical {{Foe Yay}}, [[{{stalking is love}} watching people while they sleep]], and DavidBowie there is next to no fanfiction about this film on the internet.

to:

* RuleThirtyFour: Subverted {{Subverted}} - despite the beating, bondage, whipping, obsessions with discipline and control, hierarchical power structures, canonical {{Foe Yay}}, [[{{stalking is love}} watching people while they sleep]], and DavidBowie there is next to no fanfiction about this film on the internet.



** Mock executions have been recognized internationally as a form of torture-not surprising for the period.



* TallDarkAndHandsome: Inverted - it is mentioned in the film's special features that one of the reasons Yonoi is attracted to Celliers is his exotic blond hair.

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* TallDarkAndHandsome: Inverted {{Inverted}} - it is mentioned in the film's special features that one of the reasons Yonoi is attracted to Celliers is his exotic blond hair.



* WhatCouldHaveBeen: How did music legends DavidBowie and [[YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] work on the same film yet never work on music together?
21st Mar '14 8:44:15 PM Fireblood
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The situation is not helped by Hicksley, the prisoner rep, refusing point blank to furnish Yonoi with details of which prisoners are arms experts, stubbornly refusing to involve himself in any sort of attempts at cross-cultural understanding, and generally being an annoying and ignorant eejit. Caught in the middle of all this madness is the unfortunate [[{{The Woobie}} Colonel Lawrence]] (Tom Conti) of the title. A mild-mannered man, Lawrence attempts to bridge the cultural gap between captives and capturers, not that it keeps him safe.

to:

The situation is not helped by Hicksley, the prisoner rep, refusing point blank to furnish Yonoi with details of which prisoners are arms experts, stubbornly refusing to involve himself in any sort of attempts at cross-cultural understanding, and generally being an annoying and ignorant eejit. Caught in the middle of all this madness is the unfortunate [[{{The Woobie}} Colonel Lawrence]] (Tom Conti) of the title. A mild-mannered man, Lawrence attempts to bridge the cultural gap between captives and capturers, captors, not that it keeps him safe.
16th Mar '14 11:56:37 AM m8e
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* AllStarCast: Both DavidBowie and [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] were chosen for their status as well-known musicians in their own countries. The film also stars TakeshiKitano as Sergeant Hara.

to:

* AllStarCast: Both DavidBowie and [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] were chosen for their status as well-known musicians in their own countries. The film also stars TakeshiKitano Creator/TakeshiKitano as Sergeant Hara.
22nd Jan '14 7:23:21 PM notahandle
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* AllStarCast: Both DavidBowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto were chosen for their status as well-known musicians in their own countries. The film also stars TakeshiKitano as Sergeant Hara.

to:

* AllStarCast: Both DavidBowie and [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto Sakamoto]] were chosen for their status as well-known musicians in their own countries. The film also stars TakeshiKitano as Sergeant Hara.
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