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Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1983]

Release Date:09/28/2010
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Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence was the first English-language project of Japanese director Nagisa Oshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses). In tune with his previous filmic essays on racism and brutality, Merry Christmas concentrates on a war of wills between rebellious POW David Bowie and camp commandant Ryuichi Sakomoto. Assuming that his other prisoners' unwillingness to protest their cruel treatment is a sign of weakness, Sakomoto is most impressed by Bowie's enigmatic defiance. While Bowie and Sakomoto seem to be operating on a high spiritual and intellectual plane, bilingual prisoner Tom Conti (the "Mr. Lawrence" of the title) engages in a more standard adversarial relationship with sadistic sergeant Takeshi Kitano.~Hal Erickson


Disc One: Original Theatrical Trailer

Disc Two: 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, who autobiographical novel was the basis for the film

Plus: A booklet featuring an Essay by film writer Chuck Stephens and reprinted interviews with Director Nagisa Oshima and Actor Takeshi Kitano