The David Bowie Community of Australia and New Zealand

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence: REVIEWS, PREMIERES & INTERVIEWS
Whilst Bowie was in New Zealand, a film focused interview was shot at Auckland Railway Station.

This was subsequently shown on National TV as now seen here.

Ribald Revue

At the end of shooting, Bowie staged what was described as a "deliberately rude but hilarious musical" for the cast and crew.

Everyone parted friends.


European Premiere

The European premiere for the film took place in the south of France at Cannes - the world's oldest, most influential and prestigious film festival:

Above: David Bowie, Nagasi Oshima, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Jack Thompson at Cannes.
Images courtesy of Teenage Wildlife.


Above: Promoting MCML. Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nagasi Oshima and Takeshi Kitano.



Australian Premiere

Item from Bruce Butler's Collection.

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Reviews and Reaction

As of July 2010, there is still very strong favour towards Bowie's acting and the film in general.

It is generally felt that the current IMDB rating (7.1 out of 10) is way too low for what many have justified as a 10 out of 10 motion picture.

'Two pop stars and a comedian turn out to be really good in war atrocity film'

When this movie first came out, I remember the movie critics were very snippy about David Bowie's apparently "spaced out" performance. In actual fact he demonstrated an ability to genuinely dig deep into a complex emotional pit to produce an incredibly watchable performance. In addition, the casting of Bowie "against type" enables one to see more in Jack Celliers than the typical quiet British War Hero with a tragic past. Just by hint of his being played by Bowie adds a necessary varnish of mysteriousness and removes the possibility of clichéd playing.
~ Silasss


'Apocolypse Now plus subtlety'

I have to applaud and second the reviewer who gives this film 10/10 and who thinks the current average must be a result of many people not watching to the end. I think it's the result of many viewers not appreciating the art, subtlety, and deeply UNnationalistic message. In a country rife with jingoism, the message that no one is "right" when waging war (and especially committing atrocity) will not be especially popular. After living three years in Japan, I can understand how American (and indeed Western) independence and confidence can be perceived as (and even sometimes are) arrogance and ethonocentricity. The movie looks at what it means to be human and afraid. It examines how shame and cowardice haunt most men of noble heart. It reveals our commonalities to be undeniably more powerful and real than our transitory differences. It shows how truly stupid man must be to perpetuate the horrors of warfare and to mar his soul by using power to hurt others.

It's a 10/10 in my book, but realistically speaking, if most people agreed, well, there wouldn't be any grist for this mill.

~ Vivcon

'The greatest movie of all time'

This movie is so underrated it should be a crime. This film is a masterpiece when watched fully (the amount of people who must have watched the first 10 minutes and switched off must be many) but trust me, you have to watch it all. The thing that hits me the most about this movie is its strong morals (especially with Jack Celliers played by David Bowie, and his flashbacks, and these also play a part later in story - watch it and you will see what I mean) and the way in which the human spirit works. Really all I can say is you will NEVER understand until you watch the film FULLY, remember DON'T: 1. Be put of that David Bowie stars (you don't notice its him anyway, you believe him as his character) 2. Don't think it is going to be boring and switch off in first 10 minutes this is a great film and personally I think the greatest movie of all time, it is very underrated.

~ EnglishHero

'The most thought provoking and character driven and just plain greatest war movie ever done!'

How did so many fantastic performances go so unnoticed? What the hell happened at the Oscars in 1983? This film is amazing not only because of Kitano's chilling performance as Sgt. Hara, but Bowie does great as Celliers and Tom Conti is too good to miss. The story is very unnerving and at times quite disturbing but very genuine and beautiful. The story I think is something very original from other WW2 movies and gives a better example of the triumph of the human spirit within such a confined a violent place better than any other war/prison film. The last ever scene with Conti and Kitano is enough for easily flowing tears, the friendship that has grown between them both and knowing that Hara is going to die is so heartbreaking. Much like John Coffey in 'The Green Mile' and Aileen Wournos in 'Monster'. It's a great moment of cinema. Nagisa Oshima's direction is nothing short of perfect. Also see 'Gohatto' again starring Takeshi Kitano. All in all this movie is beautiful. 10/10.

~ josh-hall