Cinema: Stout Hearts

MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE Directed by Nagisa Oshima Written by Nagisa Oshima and Paul Mayersberg

Java, 1942. A P.O.W. camp, where men are men—except for the Japanese guards, who are wily beasts. Through the sweltering days and ominous nights, three British prisoners run variations on the national character. Hicksley-Ellis (Jack Thompson) conducts his impotent belligerence by the book; ragged, resilient Jack Celliers (David Bowie) has the clear eyes and defiant smirk of a Kipling hero; Lawrence (Tom Conti), the camp translator, is an Oxbridgian humanist seeking a tunnel into the Oriental mind. Men are strong; men are shot; men fight on...

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