Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. – The words I have to type out

I’ve always a big fan for small, unnoticeable movie theaters those don’t play blockbusters.

Here is the place called The Empire, a small cinema in Phnom Penh.

The cinema is on the second floor of a shabby bar. Two of my friends and I passed by and hesitated whether we should go in, as I said, the bar “looks” quite crappy for the first glance. There are figures of hot girls on the shop front, which gave me a feeling this place is not classy at all. While we were hesitating, the owner showed up at the right time, we thought we were going to try our luck. Thus, we went in.

It is a small cosy cinema, probably can hold no more than 50 people. There were other audience there, the owner opened the door only for us, and let us choose whichever movie we want to watch.
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence it is.

One of the reason I like this movie is because of the music. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” is my favorite piece of music. The complicated emotions Ryuichi Sakamoto infused into the melody are grand, subtle, and profound. I was quite moved by the movie because of the music and because of the “love” shown in the movie.
Love, a magic and abused word nowadays, is one of the most enigmatic human emotions, and too complicated to comprehend. I’m not a high school girl any more, and won’t get moved deeply by a cheesy breakup scene. Actually, most of the love stories won’t move me too much, because there are always more important things in life to think about and worry about, and to suffer from. Sometimes, people just take their so-called “love” too much a big deal. Not many people can say they know what is love, and clearly know it when they love someone. (I met someone long time ago, and he told me he loves me when we’ve known each other for two weeks, and that puzzled me in a bad way).

In Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, there are a few types of chemicals happening between the mean characters, complicatedly intertwined and waived together to be such a beautiful and sad story. The relationship between Yonoi and Jack is more towards the lovers’ “love”, at least, single side from Yonoi(by Ryuichi Sakamoto), he loves, respects Jack(by David Bowie), he wants to protect him, but during the WWII, homosexual love is forbidden, he can’t show his ardent affections to Jack, he needs to be quite about it. And Jack, on the other hand, deeply damaged by his complex with his little brother. He regrets not protecting him when they were young, and he flee away, away from his guilt, joining the war, and inclining to make it up for hurting his young brother, even if it’s self-destruction. He’s not afraid of death, not because of his brave, he wants to die so he can get away from the guilt and he wants to get the nirvana. He knows Yonoi loves him, but he can’t love the same way back, for all these reasons, he insulted Yonoi, by kissing him on the cheeks, and he got what he wants, left Yonoi agonizing. The one who’s left is away the one who suffers more.
The relationship between Lawrence and Sgt. Hara is also quite interesting. They are enemies, but as soldiers, they respect each other, although they share different cultures, different values for honor and life. When Yonoi wants to sacrifice Lawrence for Jack, Hara saved him, out of empathy and respect. However, Lawrence can’t save him in the end. That, I call it super friendship, between them are honorable and respectful. If the relationship between Yonoi and Jack is romantic and fierce, theirs is dignified and tacit.

All of them are victims of the system, of the war, but only under such circumstances, individual’s drift and desperation become magnified, more significant, and more beautifully broken because how powerless and vulnerable one could possibly be. In contrast, the suffering and moaning people claim in a peaceful society become frivolous and only passing by as some fuss.

Another thing impresses me about the music is that, it is a challenge to associate such a young and handsome lad, Ryuichi Sakamoto with such magnificent film score. I’d always picture the composer as a old professor-like person behind it. Sakamoto is only 34 years old when he acts in the movie. Such a genius, I’d so fall in love with him if I was born at that time.

I have to write my thought around this out, it’s been haunting me for a few days. The amount of emotions from the music and the film poured in to my mind and overflowed. I have to gather it, put it in some order and offload it somewhere, otherwise I’ll explode, I’m already addictive to Ryuichi Sakamoto. 😛

Now it’s such a relief.



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

October 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Sounds like a nice movie – it’s on my list 😀

Also, I liked the writing style of this post!

October 13, 2018 at 6:30 am
– In reply to:

Haha, is there a writing style? 😛 To be fair, the movie is not surprisingly great, the editing is not that smooth, and the acting by Sakamoto is just ok. The audience need to think like a Japanese people to understand what’s going on.

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