Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence: War Crime During Christmas Time

Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence was directed by Nagisa Ōshima in 1983. Loosely based on Lauren’s van Der Post’s trilogy ‘The Seed and The Sower’, Nagisa Oshima’s English language film (1983) is set on the island of Java in 1942 (during World War II).

Written by Paul Mayersberg and the director, this film explores the situation of English prisoners of war held by the Japanese on the remote island of Java, offshore of Indonesia, and their Japanese captors.

In particular, it tells the story of Colonel John Lawrence (Tom Conti) his character in the film has a deep understanding of Japanese culture, but he’s incarcerated as a pow like all the others. He ends up becoming a powerful mediator between the English and the Japanese. John Lawrence helps the audience to understand this violent and often perplexing behaviour of their captors.

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