In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are ... See full summary »
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Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death --- a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, ... See full summary »
In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »
In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are cowards when they chose to surrender instead of committing suicide. One of the prisoners, interpreter John Lawrence, tries to explain the Japanese way of thinking, but is considered a traitor. Written by
According to the book 'New Zealand Film 1912-1996' by Helen Martin and Sam Edwards, "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence , much of which was shot in Auckland . . . is [director Nagisha] Oshima's first film in English . . . The film was financed by New Zealand, British and Japanese money channelled through New Zealand's Broadbank." See more »
In the final scene in the prison cell, the cross belt of Lt Col Lawrence's Sam Browne is fitted back to front. See more »
I saw this movie when it came out more than 17 years ago. At the time a big deal was made about David Bowie being in it. He is, and does a fine job, but the movie isn't about his character. It is far more about the differences between East and West, and the cruelty of war. I was able to see it again last week on a cable channel.
To fully appreciate MCMR, try to understand the culture of both the captors and the prisoners at the time. To the prisoners, their existence in the camp is an unfortunate result of war, and should be temporary and not a life or death experience. To the Japanese captors, the prisoners who surrendered rather than died fighting are cowards, beneath the notice of the captors and likely not even viewed as human beings. They are expendable. But first, in this particular camp, there is an effort to "educate" the prisoners about the way a *true* warrior lives life (and dies). That is where the true conflict begins.
There are multiple physical and psychological struggles going on in MCMR. There is even some homoeroticism, though it isn't fully explained. There is certainly a lot of sadness, for characters on both sides. This point is brought home at the end, when the roles are reversed for two of the characters.
Even today, I can hum several parts of the score to MCMR, and they make me melancholy as I recall scenes from the movie. If you like movies that delve into the darker side of the human spirit (with some lightness thrown in), check out MCML. I rated it an 8.
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