❉ David Bowie stars in the wartime drama, out 15th June on Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
David Bowie stars in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Nagisa Oshima’s 1983 Palme d’Or-nominated portrait of resilience, pride, friendship and obsession among four very different men confined in the stifling jungle heat of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Java during World War II.
In 1942, British officer Major Jack Celliers (Bowie) is captured by Japanese soldiers, and after a brutal trial sent, physically debilitated but indomitable in mind, to a POW camp overseen by the zealous Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto). Celliers’ stubbornness sees him locked in a battle of wills with the camp’s new commandant, a man obsessed with discipline and the glory of Imperial Japan who becomes unnaturally preoccupied with the young Major, while Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence (Tom Conti), the only inmate with a degree of sympathy for Japanese culture and an understanding of the language, attempts to bridge the divide through his friendship with Yonoi’s second-in-command, Sergeant Hara (Takeshi Kitano), a man possessing a surprising degree of compassion beneath his cruel façade.
Produced by Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, The Sheltering Sky), it was the first English-language film by Oshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses, Gohatto), a leading light of Japanese New Wave cinema, and provided breakthrough big-screen roles for comedian Takeshi Kitano and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, who also composed the film’s hauntingly memorable BAFTA-winning score. This powerful wartime drama was adapted from Laurens van der Post’s autobiographical novel ‘The Seed and the Sower’ (1963) by screenwriter Paul Mayersberg (The Man Who Fell To Earth).
❉ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jasper Sharp
❉ High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
❉ Original uncompressed stereo audio
❉ The Man Who Left His Soul on Film (1983), Paul Joyce’s 82-minute documentary profile of Nagisa Oshima
❉ The Oshima Gang (1983), a 30-minute documentary following the film’s cast and makers at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival
❉ Video interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Paul Mayersberg, actor Tom Conti, and actor-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
❉ Hasten Slowly (1996), a 60-minute documentary about the author of the film’s autobiographical source novel
❉ Exclusive newly filmed interview with critic Tony Rayns
❉ Original theatrical trailer
❉ Image gallery
❉ Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Hadley
Language: Japanese, English. Subtitles: English, English SDH. Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1. Colour. Discs: 1
❉ ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ Blu-ray out 15th June from Arrow Academy. Certificate 15. Running time: 123 mins. Price £24.99. Region B. Cat No (BR)FCD2013.
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