Gabriele MartinoDate of publication
Title : merry christmas mr lawrence (1983) - the forbidden kiss
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The Japanese never had to atone completely for their sins the way the Germans had to. Read any account of the Nanjing Massacre. It went beyond the worst imaginings you could have, but never got the attention that the atrocities in Europe did. This movie is important because it was made by a Japanese director and cast about their own wartime culture at the time. No one else could have told the story this honestly.
It is almost tawdry to me to read all those comments reducing this sublime moment to homoerotic attraction. I’m not saying that is not present, but this is basically the story of Christ. A being that is whole comes forward in sacrifice to change the heart of those who are stunted and impaired. That is the Christ story. The love that is offered is not so much romantic as agape. And the effect on Yayoi is profound and spiritual...a literal change of heart. When he goes back to the dying Celliers he takes a lock of his hair and then bows. Formally, respectfully. There is no tender sexuality there, but full respect. He retained his Japanese warrior aspect but it has been healed. whereas it was wounded and distorted, an a e s t h e t i c death cult before, now his samurai spirit has been returned to its full dignity. I’m not denying that Yayoi was not in some sense in love with Celliers. But that love is so much deeper and spiritual than simply a crush.
Where do I begin and where does it end..............I saw this movie in the theater when it was first released in very limited engagements in only a few select markets in North America, anxiously awaiting a rare and elusive moment to experience David Bowie as a fully fledged, no excuses actor - I had already become a fan of Ryuichi Sakamoto and his mysterious musical talents so this was a two for one. Bowie came through with his usual flair, talent and elusive yet subtle skills in becoming something or someone else entirely. Sakamoto nearly steals the movie with his strange and beautiful mix of hardcore Samarai Japanese military attitude and androgynous masculinity. It really took about three or four viewings of this movie before I realized its Zen like beauty, it's ironic and paradoxical themes unfolding against a wartime tropical backdrop of savagery, agony, sorrow and regret. Yet through all of the tragicness, there lies an undercurrent of persistent kindness, compassion and serenity despite it's nihilistic setting - I cannot process all of this madness all of the time but I can, in my own way, be a human being by showing my flaws, keeping hope alive and giving comfort. But the underlying theme is of regret and forgiveness and eventually peace. How one deals with the problems one is experiencing is the ultimate answer and it is different for each individual. This movie stirs me emotionally each and every time I watch it, the infamous kiss scene and then building up to the last emotional line of the movie. And then there's the music by Sakamoto. It fits this movie so beautifully and provides an exotic and rich sonic backdrop. Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence is a cinematic masterpiece and a sentimental and deeply moving experience each time I watch it.
This film directed by Nagisa Oshima of nominated for the 36th Cannes International Film Festival.Ryuichi Sakamoto is who played Yonoi captain ,and this film Theme song is Song composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto " Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence "is won the blitish academy award . Takeshi Kitano who played Sergeant Gengo Hara. and 14 years later, the movie hanabi made by Takeshi Kitano won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy. (I'm a fan of the techno pop "YMO" to which Ryuichi Sakamoto belongs.)
Japanese guards could never quite get their heads around acts like this. In Thailand figures like Edward Dunlop and other members of RAMC and RAAMC routinely placed themselves between their men and these brutal murderers. It usually resulted in a fatal or near fatal beating, in Dunlops case, virtually a crucifixion. After the war figures like Dunlop became enormous heroes to their men, far more than battlefield heroes, because they were so powerless, but acted anyway. The Australian commander at Changhi was similar. He would literally go up the Japanese guards and scream in their faces, which strangely, intimidated them, despite the fact that he was unarmed and they were armed to the teeth. He took the gamble and laid into them. This front foot form of defence got him and many of his men through the war alive. Sadly, many more died. Of all Australia's dead in WW2. Almost 1 in 4 died as prisoners of the Japanese. In Borneo, of the 2700 British and Australian prisoners taken there from Singapore, only 3 survived. And of those, only 2 recovered in hospital, the 3rd succumbing to his injuries. My dad treated many of the men who returned from the islands, usually for ongoing issues with broken bones from beatings, dislocations and various other issues. All were deeply traumatised, ashamed and shook with fear and loathing at the very mention of the guards. It was a long journey back to normal lives and a story which at the time was quickly swept under carpet the to restore relations with Japan. The story of Borneo was essentially covered up as it was too harrowing. And the rape and murder of Australian female nursing staff from Singapore is even only now being fully investigated, again, repressed at the time to spare relatives back home the horror of their loved ones final hours.
Japanese do not know how to treat prisoners of war. I don't know that physical punishment is useless. Because physical punishment is natural within the Japanese military. Besides, even in ordinary households, it is common for parents to do corporal punishment for bad children to stop them from doing bad things.
I'm a long time fan of Bowie's, but I haven't seen this film yet. Looking forward to it. Not sure what the kiss means within this context, I assume the sword holder 'lost face' to say the least. I don't understand why Bowie was allowed to move freely under gunpoint, I need to see this film! Looks and sounds beautiful...
this is one big "and i oop" for me
i've never watch this movie, not even slightly, and i just watch the trailer right before watch this one. But i got major goosebumps and heartbeat just watching this one scene, and i'm not that a fujoshi. Seriously, the POWER this clip holds is just...
I remember seeing this movie when it first came out. I remember that there was total silence as the audience walked, silently, out of the theatre still under the horror induced catatonia. A horrible movie about the horrors of being human and the slight possibilities we all have to make the world better. So far, we've failed.