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Justin101 9th April 2021 02:50 PM


Originally Posted by gag (Post 649427)
£2.49 pp inc eBay.

I've never fully watched it.

I watched this is part of my Japanuary and I really liked it, gripping film. It's too late now, but you should have bought the Arrow BluRay there is a really good documentary about the film's director, it's almost as good as the film itself.

Nosferatu@Cult Labs 9th April 2021 03:55 PM


Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs (Post 649474)
Nice haul, Nos.

I really liked Victoria and Abdul, The Lincoln Lawyer, Defiance, Moneyball and er' Baywatch. The Wolf Man is really underrated i think.

Focus and The Quiet Ones were pretty good too.

The only one i didn't like one bit was 47 Ronin. Awful. One or two i haven't seen as well, and Miracle at St Anna which i've owned for years and never got round to watching.

I haven't seen Victoria & Abdul, Focus or The Quiet Ones.

I saw 47 Ronin years ago and can't remember liking it or disliking it – it didn't leave a great impression on me either way.

I watched and reviewed Miracle at St Anna when the DVD was first released (there weren't any Blu-ray discs available for review purposes) and noted that, although it wasn't not a great film from Spike Lee, it told an important story very well and has boasted impressive visuals and sound.

Of the 25, they separate into three categories:

Seen at the cinema:
  • Eye in the Sky
  • The Boat That Rocked
  • Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Defiance
  • The Girl on the Train
  • The Impossible

Watched at home:
  • 47 Ronin
  • The Wolfman
  • The Box
  • The Lincoln Lawyer
  • Moneyball
  • Passchendaele
  • Baywatch
  • End of Watch
  • Miracle at St Anna
  • Oz the Great and Powerful
I haven't seen:
  • Logan Lucky
  • The Quiet Ones
  • Anonymous
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Focus
  • Texas Killing Fields
  • In the Shadow of the Moon

I've seen all of the Pixar shorts, four of them at the cinema and one of them (Geri's Game, which played before A Bug's Life) when I bought the DVD. I've watched all of them multiple times since.

Nosferatu@Cult Labs 9th April 2021 04:03 PM


Originally Posted by gag (Post 649427)
£2.49 pp inc eBay.

I've never fully watched it.

These were my 'final thoughts' at the end of my review of the Blu-ray disc:

"Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is an intelligently written, delicately directed and powerfully acted film which carries a great deal of emotional weight, with interesting uses of flashback to give the characters – especially Celliers – more depth. It is a film which stands up to repeated viewings and, with both the BD and DVD boasting fine picture and sound quality, this set will suit households which have yet to make the jump to a high definition set up, but plan to do so at some point in the future as well as those who have a Blu-ray player and HD screen in one room but what films elsewhere.

There are more extra features than I was expecting and they are all worth your time and attention. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is perhaps the most 'user friendly' of Ôshima's films and, for anyone who likes of films like The Bridge on the River Kwai, this is definitely one to check out. For those who are already fans of Ôshima's work, this is a fine set and one to add to your collection."

Nosferatu@Cult Labs 9th April 2021 04:07 PM

My film review:

"Of all the war films made about different countries’ participations in different theatres and in different conflicts, perhaps the British involvement in the East fighting against the Japanese in the Second World War and the fate of soldiers imprisoned by the Japanese and put to work on the 'Death Railway' has received less attention than most. Although David Lean used this subject to great effect in his Oscar-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai, there aren't many others and one of the most surprising filmmakers who based a project on this aspect of the Second World War was Nagisa Oshima with Senjō no Merī Kurisumasu, more commonly known as Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.

Based on The Seed and the Sower (1963), the first of two books by Laurens van der Post, who was imprisoned by the Japanese and detailed his experiences in this semi-autobiographical novel, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence follows a group of British soldiers and their relationship with their Japanese captors. Lieutenant-Colonel John Lawrence is the most prominent British POW due to his seniority and his upbringing, which saw him spend some time in Japan to the point where he speaks the language fluently and can easily interact with the guards.

Dynamics in the camp change drastically when Major Jack Celliers, a rebellious British officer, who surrendered rather than being captured, is brought to the camp and sentenced to death by the court which greets him. Unlike Lawrence, he doesn't want to spend his prison time trying to get on with the prison guards, particularly Sergeant Hara, the complex de facto commandant, who takes his orders from the young camp commandant Captain Yonoi, but has his own ideas of how to deal with the prisoners. As Celliers is wracked by guilt due to betraying his younger brother when at boarding school, Yonoi sees him as a kindred spirit as Yonoi is also filled with regret as he was in Manchuria when his friends and comrades from the 'Shining Young Officers' took part in an unsuccessful coup d'état in 1936 and were executed.

Due to what he perceives as a connection between them, Yonoi wants to replace the British camp commandant, Group Captain Hicksley, with Celliers so he can have more control over the prisoners and spend more time with Celliers, on whom he has a homosexual crush. Due to his military background, Yonoi has no tolerance for weakness and is a firm believer in pride and honour, so encourages those who have in some way dishonoured themselves, their country or their family to commit seppuku so, when a Korean guard was found having an 'improper' relationship with the Dutch prison, he is ordered to commit seppuku with his Dutch lover and the rest of the prisoners watching. The behaviour of the onlooking soldiers further enrages Yonoi as the incredibly painful and disturbing spectacle causes many to look away, something which the infuriated Yonoi considers 'spiritually lazy'.

Rather than go along with Yonoi's plan, Celliers continues his rebellious behaviour, smuggling in Finland when Yonoi cuts the men's rations rations for two days for their behaviour at the seppuku and Celliers’ behaviour inspires hate in Yonoi's batman who, fearing for his boss's psychological safety, decides to assassinate the renegade prisoner.

Although Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence may seem a peculiar title for a drama set in a Japanese POW camp, the line is said by Sergeant Hara at the end of the film and, in different forms one Christmas Eve when a drunken Hara begins laughing hysterically when Lawrence and Celliers find him, saying something about Santa Claus and wishing the men a Merry Christmas.

Just as The Bridge on the River Kwai eventually humanised Colonel Saito, showing what pressure he was under to complete the railway on time, this shows Hara as deeply conflicted, sadistic one moment and then friendly with Lawrence the next. By the end, he has realised how damaging his actions were and it would take someone with a heart of stone not to be moved by the final scene in which Hara says the titular line.

As the two main British officers, Lawrence and Celliers, Tom Conti and David Bowie are perfectly cast and deliver superb performances, with Conti's body language and demeanour expertly conveying Lawrence's malleability, commitment to negotiate and find the path of least resistance whilst maintaining inner steel and moral code, which sees him stand up to Yonoi's intransigence. David Bowie will always be regarded as a musician first an actor second, but his performances in films like The Man Who Fell to Earth, Just a Gigolo and The Hunger shows there is more to him than cameos and, with his blonde hair, mismatched eyes and rakish frame, looks different to the other soldiers, which helps underscore Celliers’ rebellious nature. In the principal Japanese roles, Ryuichi Sakamoto brilliantly essays the cruel and unsympathetic Yonoi, but 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano (just credited as Takeshi) really impresses in a difficult role which requires sadism, sympathetic behaviour and intransigence.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence was Nagisa Oshima's first English-language film and, due to the quality of the screenplay and the performances from the English-speaking cast, it's clear language wasn't a problem for him, with this as accomplished as his previous Japanese films. It's a compelling drama which, as this release has a DVD and BD, I have watched twice and it loses nothing on repeated viewings due to the script, direction and acting. Like so many other films (It's a Wonderful Life as a prime example), it's one where the hardship and suffering throughout the film creates the emotional impact in the dénouement, with Hara's conversation with Lawrence really bringing a lump to your throat.

If you haven't come across Nagisa Ôshima's films before, with In the Realm of the Senses and Empire of Passion being his most prominent, but not necessarily 'audience friendly', this is a great introduction to his filmmaking technique. You don't have to be a fan of Japanese cinema to appreciate and like this as, unlike the aforementioned films, is one which will easily find a wide audience amongst those who like prison dramas and films set during the Second World War and in POW camps. I don't know if it's Ôshima's best work, but it's a compelling, engaging and powerful drama."

gag 9th April 2021 05:07 PM

Merry Christmas mr Lawrence, I'm aware of the film and correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the music score win some awards .

Demdike@Cult Labs 9th April 2021 05:54 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Just arrived from Amazon - Jess Franco sleaze and an Italian crime classic.

Dave Boy 9th April 2021 06:45 PM

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Arrived today.

Attachment 232476

Nosferatu@Cult Labs 9th April 2021 09:57 PM


Originally Posted by gag (Post 649489)
Merry Christmas mr Lawrence, I'm aware of the film and correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the music score win some awards .

Yes, Ryuichi Sakamoto won a BAFTA for best score.

gag 9th April 2021 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by Nosferatu@Cult Labs (Post 649523)
Yes, Ryuichi Sakamoto won a BAFTA for best score.

Thanks, I thought so.

Demdike@Cult Labs 10th April 2021 01:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Blind buy from Asda this morning. £3.

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