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Hero image for Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

Film (Excerpts) – 1983


This 1983 feature explores desire, death, and guilt in a World War II Japanese prisoner of war camp. From Japanese art cinema star Nagisa Oshima (director of the notorious In the Realm of the Senses), its leads were musicians David Bowie (as a defiant captive) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (a conflicted camp commander). The film was mainly shot in Auckland, and partly funded by Broadbank during the tax shelter 80s. Kiwi connections include ex-Broadbank employee Larry Parr as associate producer, first assistant director Lee Tamahori, and actor Alistair Browning as a PoW.

One of the finest offshore features financed by tax-sheltered New Zealand investment was Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, made by the distinguished Japanese director Nagisa Oshima ... his first feature outside Japan, (it) was shot in Auckland and Rarotonga, with Englishman Jeremy Thomas as producer and Larry Parr, whose former Broadbank colleagues helped raise the finance, as an associate producer. On the day the prospectus was issued we sent a messenger a few blocks along The Terrace from the Film Commission office to collect a copy. By the time it arrived the film had been over-subscribed. I knew several people who were investors. They seemed very pleased with the deal. The film ... was selected for competition at Cannes in 1983.
– Lindsay Shelton, The Selling of New Zealand Movies, Awa Press, 2005

Key Cast & Crew

Generic Profile image for Nagisa Oshima

Nagisa Oshima

Director, Writer

Generic Profile image for Jeremy Thomas

Jeremy Thomas


Generic Profile image for Paul Mayersberg

Paul Mayersberg


Generic Profile image for Takashi Kitano

Takashi Kitano

As: Sergeant Hara

Generic Profile image for Tom Conti

Tom Conti

As: Colonel John Lawrence

Generic Profile image for Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson

As: Captain Hicksley

See all 23 credits

Produced by

Jeremy Thomas Productions