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MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE

  • Dir. Nagisa Ôshima
  • UK/New Zealand/Japan
  • 1983
  • 123 min.
  • R
  • 35mm
  • Assistive Listening
  • Hearing Loop
MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE

Part of Bowie On Film.

In this captivating, skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Ôshima, David Bowie regally embodies Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Composer 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, the film is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash, and one of Ôshima’s greatest successes. (Synopsis courtesy of the Criterion Collection) Screening in 35mm

“Mr. Bowie's screen presence here is mercurial and arresting, and he seems to arrive at this effortlessly, though he manages to do something slyly different in every scene. The demands of his role may sometimes be improbable and elaborate, but Mr. Bowie fills them in a remarkably plain and direct way.” —Janet Maslin, New York Times (1983)

“The fact that someone actually made a World War II drama starring David Bowie and Takeshi Kitano — with queer undertones, an ’80s synth soundtrack and a powdering of Christmas spirit — well, it’s a miracle.” —Tom Graham, Little White Lies

“A fascinating character study, and one of the most interesting ‘war’ movies I have seen in a long time.” —Jackson Jackson, Collider

The Belcourt Theatre does not provide advisories about subject matter or potential triggering content, as sensitivities vary from person to person.

Beyond the synopses, trailers and review links on our website, other sources of information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense MediaIMDb and DoesTheDogDie.com as well as through general internet searches.


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