Bridge On The River Kwai

5 May 2017

For example: a characters intention, sequence of events, etc? A part in the movie which was confusing was when Nicholson decided to assist the Japanese in building the bridge. He becomes so obsessed in building the bridge (which he regarded as a symbol of British efficiency and resourcefulness, which will be remembered for times to come) that he fails to identify that he is collaborating with the Japanese even when he was informed by his own medical officer.

He becomes so blinded by this that he, a man of principles and one who follows rules mentioned in the Geneva Convention is willing to make his officers work for the timely completion of the bridge. Saito tells Nicholson that it will not be necessary to bring the copy of the Geneva Convention and walks away making the silence/no-response response speak for him.

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Due to the indirect form of communication it is hard to follow if Saito means that Nicholson should not bring the book because he has previously read it and now that it has been brought to his attention he will not make the British officers do manual abour or that he has read the book but will still make the British officers do manual labour. Making silence speak instead of words and the indirect form of communication gives the essence of a reactive culture. Another part of the movie which was hard to understand was when Nicholson fell on the detonator at the end of the film.

It is unclear if Nicholson had an intention to destroy the bridge or if it was a mere accident. His last lines “what have I done” do clarify his intent but due to the fact that he falls on the plunger there was no ample clarification for the same. There is a possibility that due to his love for the bridge uilt by the British soldiers he had Just proceeded towards the plunger to disconnect it, however, dies while doing so and hence falls on it instead. 0 What was the best thing about the movie?

What was the worst? The best part about the film was the way Nicholson stood by his principles and persuaded Saito to not make his officers do manual labour and hence go by the rules mentioned in the Geneva Convention. The astonishing part about this was that this was taking place in a POW camp where the bargaining power was higher with Saito than Nichonson. Nicholsons’s leadership abilities made his officers not give in to Saito and start anual work, and hence continued to be punished in the oven.

His leadership abilities are portrayed well when the British medical officer comes to meet him at the oven, Nicholson was more concern about his officers than about himself even after he was deprived of food and water for numerous days. His pride and patriotic qualities tacilitate him to stand by his word against Saito even atter physical and emotional harm is being inflicted on him during the period of negotiation. On the other hand I feel that 2 Saito underestimated his BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement).

I feel hat during the time of positional bargaining with Nicholson, ultimately carving under pressure and letting him out of the oven, Saito should have used his own soldiers for the bridge (till such time Nicholson was persuaded to make his men work) and created more discipline and collaboration among the workers for the timely completion of the bridge. I feel that there was little room for principled negotiation as Nicholson was not willing to do so. The worse part of the movie was the collapse of the bridge in the end.

A bridge which was the cause of various negotiations between Saito and Nicholson, in the process esulted in numerous threats, blackmail and infliction of physical and emotional harm from Saito to Nicholson and consequentially got Nicholson himself killed. By the collapse of the bridge all that seemed to be a waste. 0 What did you find to be the most interesting or surprising element of the film? Why? The most surprising element of the film is the fact when Nicholson decides to take over the responsibility to construct the bridge after having won the negotiation against Saito and having no obligation towards doing so.

He becomes so obsessed in building the bridge (which he regarded as a symbol of British efficiency and resourcefulness, which will be remembered for times to come) that he fails to identify that he is collaborating with the Japanese even when he was informed by his own medical officer. He defends himself in front of the officer by saying that he is getting the bridge made efficiently as he wants people who use to bridge in the future to remember how it was built and who built it. He also adds that by working on the bridge together his men will feel like British soldiers rather than Japanese prisoners.

The bridge was Nicholson’s trophy and was not an instrument to keep the British soldiers together. He becomes so blinded by this that he, a man of principles and one who follows rules mentioned in the Geneva Convention is willing to make his officers work for the timely completion of the bridge. He forgot about the war and his loyalties and started to aid in the improvement of the bridge rather than working in accordance with the instructions provided by the Japanese. It was this perceived duty that lead to his downfall ultimately.

This was due to the fact that if he was not that keen of building a good bridge, he would not have reacted the way he did once he identified the explosives and could have prevented the unnecessary loss f lives towards the end including his own. 3 0 What is the movie trying to tell viewers? The movie glorifies the western civilization, especially that of the British. On the other hand it portrays the east Oapanese) to be weak and still learning. 0 How does it go about conveying this message? In the beginning Saito and Nicholson did not get along well.

Nicholson insisted that his officers were not to do manual labour as per the rules stated in the Geneva Convention, however, Saito was more bothered about getting the bridge ready on time. When the numerous attempts Saito made to persuade the stubborn Nicholson ailed he tried a friendly approach by offering the starved Nicholson with Beef corn and Whiskey and by telling him that the senior officers including him do not have to manual labour. Saito had to ultimately carve and wilt towards the strong armed Nicholson even though Nicholson was in his POW camp.

This was done using the anniversary of Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese war in order to save face. The concept of saving face is due to the impact of collectivism. This concept of saving face suggests that Saito is from a country with a high long term orientation index (L TO) culture. Not only this, once Nicholson took up the responsibility of the bridge and implemented British designs, oversight and ingenuity to it, he ended up making a more technically sound and competent bridge than the Japanese could have otherwise built. What cultural issues do you see? How are these portrayed? o Individualist, Power distance and hierarchy, Communication styles, role of gender, etc? In the initial part of the movie the American soldier bribes the Japanese captain to assist him in getting hospitalized. The Japanese soldier does not use the word ‘No’. He indirectly tries to xpress his reluctance to hospitalize the American. When the American insists using the usual American loud and verbose attitude, the solder uses silence for the same and walks away after moving his head from side to side.

This indirect and non-verbal form of communication indicates that the Japanese is from a collectivist, low IDV and a high context culture. The American soldier wanted to be hospitalized as he was self-centered. This along with the fact that he ran away shows that he was individualistic and did not care about anyone else. It can therefore be perceived that e has a high internal locus of control, signifying that he is in charge of his own life and that what happens to him is a result of his own actions and hence indicates that he is from a high IDV and a low context culture. 4 A more participative hierarchy is portrayed by the British soldiers.

This can be seen when the British officers and their Colonel meet and have a debate on the topic of escape from the camp. One of the officers directly disagreed with Nicholson when he advised the officers not to escape from the camp. The officer argued that staying in the camp is a sure way of getting killed. This shows the impact of an individualistic ulture as in a collectivist culture disagreement is usually done indirectly or very discreetly. The British (westerners) usually like to near the word ‘No’ in order tor the meaning to be conveyed effectively; they do not understand indirect negative responses.

This kind of participative nature and direct denial from an officer to the colonel’s advice signifies a low power distance index (PDI) as power seems to be shared and well dispersed. This direct approach can also be seen in Nicholson when Saito tells him at the beginning of the movie that he will order his officers to work and he directly replies saying ‘No’. The local woman are looking up to the men and taking care of them in the scene where the American is returning the POW camp to destroy the bridge. It seems as if the women expect the men to be tough, assertive and be the provider.

This shows that the local community is a high Masculinity index (MAS) culture. Hierarchy has been shown in many instances during the film. As far as the Japanese were concern, the Japanese soldier taking his cap off and bowing (In Japan there are rules for the Japanese equivalent of the Western handshake for who to bow, how much they should bow and hence are difficult to master) to Saito at the beginning of he film, bringing him a platform to stand on as he was short and so that people look up to him and salute him, were some instances showing hierarchy amongst the Japanese.

Also the man responsible for fanning the Saito does not speak due to respect and even if it is raining the soldier still stands outside the premises as they are lower down in the hierarchy. 0 Did you like the film? Why or why not? Yes, I liked the film. The film did not have a right or wrong due to which it follows a unique and realistic approach based on individuals. Like more war films it is neither for nor against the war. By the end of the movie the viewer is less interested in the fact that who wins the war than about how the individuals will behave. 0 What adjective would you use to describe your reaction to the film? Why did you react this way? As rightly described by Clipton at the end of the film, the adjective that can be used to describe my reaction of the film is madness. Every individual in the film is inclined towards their own duty, order and chaos that they lose what really matters and what is most important. Emotions and orders have taken over the right or sane thing to do. The characters have hence led the situation to go out of hand. 0 In what ways can you identify with the movie, its characters and its message?

The movie is more about the events surrounding the war rather than the battles and the fighting. These events have turned mortality, Judgment and sound thought around and have eventually lead to madness. There are various examples of this so called madness in the movie; the madness of Nicholson who says that working with the enemy is not going against one’s country, the madness ot the American who accepts to return to a camp on a suicide mission where he escaped, nearly getting killed and he madness of a struggle the obliged men to make harsh decisions. Based on your knowledge of negotiations what do you think was going on? o What kind of dirty tricks were being used? Give 3 examples. Initially Saito used a forceful approach in negotiating with the Nicholson. Saito caused emotional (By cutting food supply and taking people from the hospital to work) and physical (When Saito slapped Nicholson and put him in the oven) means in order to persuade the soldiers to commence work on the bridge. Saito underestimated his BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement).

I feel that during the time of positional bargaining with Nicholson, ultimately carving under pressure and letting them out of the oven, Saito should have used his own soldiers for the bridge (Till such time Nicholson was persuaded to make his men work) and created discipline and collaboration among the workers for the timely completion of the bridge. I feel that there was little room for principled negotiation as Nicholson was not willing to do so. One of the dirty tricks used by Saito was that of threat’ when he warned Nicholson that if he does not order his troops to start work on the bridge he will be shot.

Another dirty trick used by Saito in the initial part of the movie was that of ‘Chinese water torture’, signifying that he kept repeating his demands without bothering much about what Nicholson has to say. 6 The third dirty trick in the movie was when Saito asked the British soldier to meet with Nicholson for 5 minutes and tell him that if he doesn’t order his officers to start work he will make the people in the hospital work. This was a ‘bluff on Saito’s part, even after hearing this Nicholson never changed his decision and the soldiers at the hospital were never made to work. What values are portrayed? Independence, cooperation, hierarchy, power, etc? The values that are portrayed in the movie are Independence, hierarchy, bravery, power, pride, patriotism, collaboration, leadership and commitment to duty. 0 How were these values portrayed? o Give examples of the type of behaviour that you base your answer upon Independence was shown when the American played on his life in order to escape from the Japanese camp in order to be free.

Hierarchy can be seen by the Japanese soldiers to Saito when they remove their cap and bow to him, when they get him a raised platform during the time of his speech, y the guard to Saito’s house has to stand outside even though it is raining and by the man responsible for fanning not speaking in the entire movie. These major differences in hierarchy and the soldiers accepting an unequal distribution of power indicates a high power distance index (PDI). Bravery has been shown by Nicholson when he did not give in even though Saito threaten ed him witn a gun hidden in the truck.

Collaboration was shown by the soldiers once the bridge was the responsibility of Nicholson. This was not present when Saito is in charge of the bridge as stated by he British engineer when he was questioned by Nicholson what he would have done differently if this was his bridge. Because of the task-oriented approach of Nicholson and he planning ahead step by step which can be seen when he says this is the end of the agenda while meeting with Saito for discussion of the proposal for the new bridge, the soldiers were able to effectively collaborate.

This suggests that Nicholson is from a linear Active Culture. Pride and patriotism can be seen when the British officers were marching in group and whistling. 7 Leadership was portrayed by Nicholson when the British soldier brought him food in he oven. Nicholson had not seen sun light for days, was weak and deprived of food and water but even then he was more concern about his officers than about himself. Commitment to duty was shown by Nicholson when he took over the responsibility of the bridge.

He made the best and most efficient bridge possible, forgetting about the war and his loyalties. 0 Was there anything about the movie (sights, sounds, smells, colors, background scenes) that told you something about the culture that you were dealing with? What did you learn? The type of culture seemed to be a collectivist one. This can be seen rom the behavior of the society when the American escapes and reaches a village. 0 What does the movie tell you about the culture of the producers of the film?

What about the film gives you this indication? The movie portrays glorification of western civilization in terms of perseverance and inventiveness, specifically the British. This indicates that the producer is from the British culture. Nicholson was able to circumvent Japanese commands due to his Engineers having the ability to construct a more technically sound bridge than the Japanese Engineers. 0 How do you think other audiences would react to this film? Why?

I feel that other audience would feel that the film is more about the events surrounding the war rather than the battles and the fighting. These events have turned mortality, judgment and sound thought around and have eventually lead to madness. There are various examples of this so called madness in the movie; the madness of Nicholson who says that working with the enemy is not going against one’s country, the madness ot the American who accepts to return to a camp where ne escaped, nearly getting killed and the madness of a struggle the obliged men to make harsh decisions.

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Bridge On The River Kwai. (2017, May 24). Retrieved March 22, 2019, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-bridge-on-the-river-kwai/
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