Monday, May 4, 2009

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence trailer

 

The Movie

The film deals with the relationships among four men

in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during the Second World War —

  1. Jack Celliers (Bowie), a rebellious prisoner with a guilty secret from his youth in New Zealand;
  2. Captain Yonoi (Sakamoto), the young camp commandant;
  3. Lieutenant Colonel John Lawrence (Conti), a British officer who has lived in Japan and speaks Japanese fluently;
  4. Sergeant Hara (Kitano), with whom Lawrence develops a peculiar friendship.

 

Like Celliers, Yonoi, too, is tormented by guilt.

Having been posted to Manchuria previously,

he was unable to be in Tokyo with his Army comrades,

the "Shining Young Officers" of

Japan's February 26 Incident, a 1936 military coup d'état.

 

When the coup fails, the young army officers are executed.

Yonoi regrets not being able to share their patriotic sacrifice.

Jack Celliers had betrayed his deformed younger brother

while the two of them were attending boarding school.

Although Celliers confesses this only to Lawrence,

Captain Yonoi senses in Celliers a kindred spirit.

He wants to replace the British camp commandant Colonel Hicksley

with Celliers as spokesman for the prisoners.

 

The taboo of homosexuality,

especially harsh in an otherwise ultranationalist

and traditional environment, is suggested throughout the film.

 

A Korean soldier is condemned to commit seppuku

after being caught in an "improper" relationship

with one of the Dutch prisoners.

As the execution is carried out,

the Dutch prisoner,

who is forced to watch it along

with the rest of the prisoners

and the Japanese officials as well,

bites his tongue and then dies of suffocation himself.

 

As Celliers is interned in the camp,

Yonoi seems to develop a homoerotic fixation with him,

often asking about him to Hara,

silently visiting him in the small hours

when Celliers is confined

and, later on, buried in the ground up to his neck

as a means of punishment.

 

As the allies approach the camp,

all prisoners are prompted to

form outside the barracks,

including sick and moribund ones.

 

The climax of the film is reached by then,

when Celliers breaks the rank and

walks decidedly in Yonoi's direction,

only to end up resolutely kissing him

in the cheek with a straight face.

This is an unbearable offense to Yonoi's bushido honor code;

he reaches out for his katana against Celliers,

only to collapse under the conflicting feelings

of vindicating himself from the offense suffered

in front of his troops

and his own feelings for Celliers,

who is subsequently sentenced to death.

Captain Yonoi himself is redeployed.

 

Analysis

The film deals with communication between cultures.

Lawrence is the only one who can effectively communicate

with the Japanese officers,

but the British camp commandant, Colonel Hicksley,

sees his liaison with the Japanese as a betrayal.

 

Each culture has its own code of conduct,

each of which is unfathomable to the other.

Lawrence tries to bridge the gap,

but he is hampered by the fact that

Yonoi and Hara don't understand

– nor try to understand – the British

as well as Lawrence understands

– or tries to understand – the Japanese.

 

Psychological and psychoanalytical reasons

for the way people act in time of war are closely examined.

The tension of an unaccepted homoerotic disposition

towards a foreign prisoner seizing the otherwise

ultranationalist and conservative Captain Yonoi

seems to be one of the main mottos as well.

 

Both Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Bowie were

superstars in their own cultures.

A strong sense of national identity is established.

 

The film is seen mainly from the British point of view,

although filmed by a Japanese director.

It is an even-handed treatment of

intercultural communication,

and the controlling power of desire

and the unexpected forms that it can take.

 

The English title of the movie hints at its main theme,

of which Christmas represents a time of

forgiveness and new birth.

We witness this forgiveness in the key relationships

between Lawrence and Hara,

as Lawrence attempts to communicate with his captors,

resulting in his drunken Christmas reprieve.

Also we see the peculiar relationship between

Yonoi and Celliers develop,

culminating in the kiss scene.

 

In the film's final scene, with the war over

and Hara now the prisoner,

Lawrence pays him a visit.

It is here that he contemplates that

both sides of the war committed atrocities

- with no side being in the right,

and would release Hara from his death sentence if he could.

To this, Hara wishes Lawrence a "Merry Christmas"

- suggesting that despite the war's atrocities,

all can be forgiven.

 

Music

The film is mostly known for its soundtrack,

by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

The main score, which bears the same title as the movie,

ranks among Sakamoto's most well-known songs

and made him known to a broader public.

 

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence / Ryuichi Sakamoto Trio 1996

 


Today

the song by Utada

these two songs are actually lovely

the responses in US

are actually better than

her 1st English album, Exodus

 

I got this funny feeling

listening to Utada

at times I think she sounds like

Mariah Carey

minus the part of pronunciation

 

then then

at certain point

i was like suddenly realizing

“hey back to reality

this is utada”

 

maybe this is positive point too

Utada is the unique Utada

this is the one…

 

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence FYI / Utada Hikaru

 

Come Back to Me / Utada Hikaru

 

In 2008, Indonesian singer Anggun

used a sample from this song in her song too

 

Seize the Moment / Anggun

 

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence FYI / Utada Hikaru

 

I give you my heart
Hold on, let me sign it
Your senorita, aka your best friend
Hereby, let it be known
Love like, never before
I'm always at your service
You just have to holler at me

 

NYC, NYC (what, what?)
Tokyo, Tokyo (what, what?)
Send it out from the streets to the highest, to the highest high

 

MP3, MP3, players
Work it out, work it out, hustlers
Oh my name got him there, ooh

 

[Chorus:]
You know why, I'm gonna be yours tonight
We're gonna oooh aaaah
FYI, we're gonna be up all night
I'll see you later
Call me
You know my number

 

Like Captain Picard
I'm chillin' and flossin'
It's seven o'clock
I issue you the warning
That's right, we're stealing this show
Damn right, letting him know
We're sipping Chardonnay on 2 PM on our working day

 

Ching a ling, ching a ling (what, what?)
Ching a ling, ching a ling (what, what?)
Take me down to the fields where the grasses, where the grasses, lie

 

MP3, MP3, players
Oh my name got him there ooh

 

[Chorus]

See I don't need a freeloader
No I don't want a freeloader
If you want a piece of this stuff
Got to give, got to give something

 

[Chorus x2]

Come Back to Me / Utada Hikaru

 

The rain falls on my windows
And the coldness runs through my soul
And the rain falls, oh the rain falls
I don't want to be alone
I wish that I could photoshop
All our bad memories
Cuz the flashbacks, oh the flashbacks
Won't leave me alone

 

If you come back to me
I'll be all that you need
Baby come back to me
Let me make up for what happened in the past

 

Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
Boy you're one in a million
Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
You're one in a million (One in a million)

 

Lower East Side of Manhattan
She goes shopping for new clothes
And she buys this and she buys that
Just leave her alone
I wish that he would listen to her side of the story
It isn't that bad, it isn't that bad
And she's wiser for it now

 

I admit I cheated
Don't know why I did it
But I do regret it
Nothing I can do or say can change the past

 

Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
Boy you're one in a million
Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
You're one in a million (One in a million)

 

Everything I ever did
Heaven knows I'm sorry babe
I was too young to see
You were always there for me
And my curiosity got the better of me
Baby take it easy on me

 

Anything from A to Z
Call me what you wanna babe
I open my heart to thee
You are my priority
Can't you see you've punished me
More than enough already
Baby take it easy on me

 

Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
Boy you're one in a million
Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
You're one in a million (One in a million)

 

Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
Boy you're one in a million
Baby come back to me
I'll be everything you need
Baby come back to me
You're one in a million (One in a million)

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