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Roger Pulvers

Award-winning Australian author, translator, journalist, playwright, theater director and educator Roger Pulvers was assistant director in the Nagisa Oshima film 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence'.

Roger first met David Bowie in Auckland (August, 1982) and in 2016, he wrote an article for The Japan Times about his experiences with him...

"From the outset he came across as a man of great personal warmth, devoid of any pretence."

"I was with him every day, on the set and off, drinking with him in the seaside hotel bar, at the little island’s Chinese restaurant (the Jade Garden, no longer there), and in scene after scene in the jungle’s clearing."

"I stood in for him in a sandpit in the dead of night. In fact, I should say 'sat in,' because there was a chair in that pit. Boards with sand on them covered the area around my head. I spent about 40 minutes in that pit, trying to blow away huge moths attracted to the bright lights. Bowie was rushed over from his room.
He entered the pit and five minutes later the shot was taken. He threw me a sympathetic smile as he was whisked away."

"'I feel terrific on this island,' he said to me as we strolled to the old courthouse in the town of Avarua. We were going to a wedding … a real wedding. Producer Jeremy Thomas and his fiancee had decided to marry on the island."

'This is the only place I have ever been where I am not recognized,' Bowie said. He was totally at ease on Rarotonga, not even bothering to use his real name. In Auckland, he registered at the hotel under his real name, David Jones. There was no media presence on the island. (As author of the film’s press releases, I was the only 'media' there.) When we were in Auckland, he was much more protected and considerably more wary of strangers. He was soft-spoken. He smiled when he spoke, and that gorgeous smile only enhanced his charm and charisma. It was hard to see how anyone, female or male, could not be attracted to this gentle man.

"When Ryuichi Sakamoto arrived on Rarotonga, it came to me to introduce the two musicians to each other. It happened in the morning on the pristine beach by the hotel. The younger Sakamoto greatly admired Bowie and was rather speechless as they shook hands."

"Bowie was modest and relaxed with everyone, from Oshima, whose work he knew well and loved, to the many crew. During the shoot, he rehearsed with some of the female crew, and they put on a song-and-dance show for us in the hotel dining room. He may have been on less secure ground as an actor than as a musician, but this was not noticeable in his demeanor or performances."

"Finally, one incident remains vivid in my memory. The two of us were sitting at the bar by the beach in Rarotonga. The sun had just set — the soft light of the twilight was altogether exquisite — when an attractive young woman passed by, stopped dead in her tracks, let her jaw drop and exclaimed, “Oh my God, I don’t believe it. It’s Roger Pulvers!” I was the one who couldn’t believe it, and Bowie, half rising to acknowledge her shock and awe, gave out a hearty laugh. My heart was pounding like a bongo drum as the young woman walked toward the shore. We both sat back down and returned to our drinks. “That was wonderful,” Bowie said, turning to me and smiling generously."

Look out for Roger Pulvers directorial film debut - for which he is also writer. It appears in 2017 and is titled Star Sand.

Pulvers is also known for his work on 'Best Wishes for Tomorrow' (2007) and 'The Diary of Anne Frank' (1995). He currently divides his time between Sydney, Australia, and Japan.

Roger Pulvers with Nagasi Oshima (Raratonga, 1982)

Roger Pulvers with David Bowie (Raratonga, September, 1982)