Haiku reflections on Japan

Pop POWS, Commanders

Great acting from a

comedian, two pop

stars and Tom Conti

 

I say that because I came across the headline for an article while dossing around on the internet lately about why musicians should not try to act.  The article would have listed some examples but I was not interested enough to read it as the picture for the article showed a pop star I think is over-rated and over-exposed and it put me off reading the article.   And i read some real silly stuff on the net when I`m bored.

I am hoping they did not pick David Bowie for this list as that would be really sad.  He was excellent along with Ryuichi Sakamoto in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (or Merry Christmas on the Battlefield, 戦場のメーリクリスマス as the title was in Japan).  So glad I came across it.   I had no idea either that it is said to be the film that put Takeshi Kitano`s name on the international map back in 1983.  His was an interesting character also.

 

As I said yesterday I had never seen David Bowie in a film before this (though I had heard of The Man who fell to Earth, I had never watched it) and I thought he was such an unusual choice to play a British soldier but that is perhaps why he was picked.  He`s not your usual `stiff upper lip three cheers for the Empire` kind of bloke.   Although Ryuichi Sakamoto said (in the interview in the extras bit of the dvd) he thought he was bad at his part (Yonoi) and was glad not to have been offered another chance to act later, he was fantastic as well.  He composes music, especially for films.  I did not know he was also in The Last Emperor as I`ve never watched it (just read the book which is very good) but he composed the soundtrack to both films as well as acting in them.  His Yonoi was scarily brilliant. Such an intensely handsome face too, not to undermine his acting efforts but yeah very handsome and of course given the homo-erotic feelings he had for Celliers, he kind of had to have strong masculine features to counteract David Bowie`s more fragile look.    It looked though at times like Sakamoto had some kind of eyeliner on which was more David Bowie`s look I would have thought and would have been at odds with the masculine face.  Oh well, his face later on when Celliers does what he does (just because it looks like I`m wearing eyeliner doesn`t mean you can do that!!) shows he probably would not have been putting on any eye-liner!!  Tom Conti was fantastic as the Mr Lawrence of the title and to me as  a Japanese student, his Japanese sounded so convincing and I was slightly jealous when he said (in the interview in the extras part of the dvd) that he only learned the dialogue the day or night before every scene he had to speak Japanese in. He must be a genius even if he did have a linguistic expert on set to drill it in to his head as he said himself.    Anyway, great film.

 

The boy who played Cellier`s little brother (in the scenes from Cellier`s youth) was almost like a throwback to the Von Trapp family with his angelic looks and ability to sing.  Other people may also have been thinking `who put one of the Von Trapp kids in this film!!??`  It makes little sense of course cos german(/austrian) POWs would not have been POWS of the Japanese as they were allies but anyway I just thought it was coincidental given that The SoM is also set in WWII times.  Here`s a side-dish of trivia relating to the Sound of Music and a neighbour of Japan.  When The Sound of Music was released in the South Korea of that era (The SoM was released in 1959, the Korean war would have been over by then so I assume it is South Korea as they would have allowed foreign films, unlike North Korea), all the music was cut out of it.   I mean what`s the point.   It could not really be called The Sound of Music if there was NO music.  Hilarious.  In North Korea, who knows what they would have done if it had been released which is unlikely.   Going back to the WC again this summer you might remember hearing that the leader of North Korea had convinced his people that their nation was in it and had progressed beyond the first round.  NK back in 1959 might have dubbed over the singers` voices with the North Korean leader`s voice.   Yeah I think that`s most likely.  His voice doing all the voices even the women and children.   Like Russians do when they do those voice-overs on foreign films.  The same voice does everyone.  It`s funny to watch.

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