Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence In Essay

While Lawrence can indeed provide mediation between the cultures, he cannot substitute the release that women would have provided, had they been allowed to visit the camp. Thus, the violence is further exacerbated not only by the cultural divide, but also by the denial of sexual release either by means of hetero- or homosexual affection. Again, from the point-of-view of audiences, the film could provide a type of warning in terms of a sense of fundamental honesty. The characters in the film are unable to honestly examine their feelings as a result of the cultural, battle, and sexual divides that exist between them. They are completely unable to overcome these divides by means of any contact with the Other if this does not involve some kind of violence. Even high ideals such as honor and loyalty are peppered with violence, as if violence is the only ideal that can survive in war.

In this way, for non-war era film audiences, the film shows the results of overriding social, sexual, or personal ideals in terms of the dangers these pose to effective and fulfilling human relationships. If seen in a wider context, this is not only applicable to the context of homosexual relationships and their fulfilment, but also to other areas of human life where misunderstanding could be created by highly idealized cultural or personal values. Indeed, at the end of the film, the ideals war show themselves to be void when the war is removed and those who were considered heroes during war time become criminals awaiting execution.

In terms of representations of the facts, the film elegantly creates a fictional platform by not depicting the war itself. Instead, it represents the deeper realities experienced during the war by means of the associated setting of the prison camp. The factual is therefore used as a somewhat distant backdrop for the psychological realities created by the cultural, sexual, and ideological differences among the major role players and their victims in the war.

What is interesting in this regard is the fact that the realities depicted in "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence"...


The implication here is that a film of this nature, despite its subject matter, of a war that is no longer a contemporary reality, is universally applicable because it demonstrates the human reaction to the stress and hostility of the environment.
Studlar (p. 604) interprets the action in the film as a type of masochism. Unable to enter into honest and open-minded communications, Yonoi especially, but also the other characters, enter into a type of masochistic relationship. This occurs in an environment where both perpetrators and victims of death are regarded as honorable victims of violent times and authoritarian leaders. The inability to effectively manage intercultural and interpersonal relationships leads to self-inflicted pain as a substitute for the pleasure of relationships that are unattainable as a result of repression.

Again, this can be interpreted suitably for film audiences from any other historical context. Even in a political sense, cultural undertones and misunderstanding result in ineffective decisions that inflict painful results.

In this way, cinema in general, regardless of the factual or documentary content, always provides a platform of interpretation that the audience can use for application to its own epoch and social situation. During the 1980s, for example, the situation in the prison camp could be interpreted as applicable to the various social prejudices that many used as an excuse for violence, masochism, or simply skewed and ineffective social and interpersonal relationships. The film is a genre that provides visual material that both collective audiences and individual viewers can use as applicable to their personal and collective situations. As such, films like "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" can be used as platforms for improvement and learning.


Jackson, E. Desire at Cross (-Cultural) Purposes: Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

Studlar, G. Masochism and the Perverse Pleasures of the Cinema.

Sources Used in Documents:


Jackson, E. Desire at Cross (-Cultural) Purposes: Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

Studlar, G. Masochism and the Perverse Pleasures of the Cinema.

Cite this Document:

"Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence In" (2011, October 20) Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

"Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence In" 20 October 2011. Web.24 June. 2024. <>

"Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence In", 20 October 2011, Accessed.24 June. 2024,

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