JAVA, 1942 – A CLASH OF CULTURES, A TEST OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT.
In 1942, a new British prisoner (David Bowie) is taken to a Japanese camp on Java where a Japanese-speaking colonel (Tom Conti) is trying to improve relations with the camp management. Director Nagisa Oshima was always a controversial filmmaker in his country and in his first English-speaking film he’s bent on depicting some of the worst Japanese habits of the war. Reminiscent of The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), the film also portrays people on both sides who try to understand each other in spite of the dire conditions; nothing new, but it is moving. The theatrical style makes the film an original experience, and the musical main theme is instantly memorable.
1983-Britain-Japan. 122 min. Color. Produced by Jeremy Thomas. Directed by Nagisa Oshima. Screenplay: Nagisa Oshima, Paul Mayersberg. Novel: Laurens Van der Post (“The Seed and the Sower”). Cinematography: Toichiro Narushima. Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto. Cast: Tom Conti (John Lawrence), David Bowie (Jack Celliers), Ryuichi Sakamoto (Captain Yonoi), Takeshi Kitano, Jack Thompson.
BAFTA: Best Score.