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Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence 15 rating

An unflinching study of brutality and resistance, fear and desire in a Japanese WWII POW camp, directed with verve by Oshima and starring David Bowie, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tom Conti.

War 1983 123 mins

Director: Nagisa Oshima



Bowie and Sakamoto (another musician-turned-actor) play strangely bonded antagonists in this study of brutalisation and repressed desire in a Japanese POW camp. Bowie’s dyed blonde hair crowns a visage shaded by rockstar excess and sexual ambiguity as Major Celliers, a man haunted by his past who’ll risk everything to defy his captor, Captain Yonoi. Electrifying scenes between the two leads, under Oshima’s spare direction, are boldly underlined by Sakamoto’s powerful score.