For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
1,640 Ratings

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Directed by Nagisa Ôshima
United Kingdom, Japan, 1983
Drama, Action, LGBTQ+


David Bowie regally embodies Major Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. The camp commander is obsessed with the mysterious blond stranger, while the British lieutenant colonel Lawrence tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between captor and prisoner…

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence Directed by Nagisa Ôshima

Critics reviews

Instead of portraying sexuality and obsession explicitly, the provocateur [Oshima] chooses to be more gentle in his visual poetry, even as violent acts of nature and man triumph. It’s no typical POW film—the men are too starved and beaten to whistle cheerfully. There’s no great escape either—whether prisoner or captor, these men are trapped by their cultural mores, and by their dark pasts.
January 11, 2017
Read full article
Oshima’s use of traditional filmmaking devices lends itself to his alternative viewpoint; long shots allow for all the characters to be equally represented and thus equally contradicted, an element of craft mirrored by Lawrence’s assertion that “we are all wrong,” and the symmetrical framing in many scenes is meant to reflect the traditionalism that Oshima challenges throughout.
October 10, 2014
Read full article

Related films