Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence centers around a group of British soldiers whom are imprisoned in Japanese POW camp. The film is a very interesting piece of film-making in which we see the daily lives of these british soldiers and how they interact with their Japanese counterparts, really establishing the cultural differences which exist between these two nations of people towards the end of the war. Some of these segments are incredibly well constructed, using Oshima's great eye for detail and unique viewpoint to give great insight into not only the differences, but the the forgiveness and understanding which comes to fruition between these two cultures. As expected by any Oshima feature, the visual design is universally exceptional, with some great sequences. The problem with Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is simply that Oshima was trying to say too much, leading to a film that comes off as convoluted when expressing its various themes. A flawed work that contains some truly memorable sequences, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is a lesser work by Oshima, but worth a look if simply for the few sequences which are beautifully constructed and emotionally resonant.
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