This sweeping account of the life of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China, follows the leader's tumultuous reign. After being captured by the Red Army as a war criminal in 1950, Pu-Yi recalls his childhood from prison. He remembers his lavish youth in the Forbidden City, where he was afforded every luxury but unfortunately sheltered from the outside world and complex political situation surrounding him. As revolution sweeps through China, the world Pu-Yi knew is dramatically upended.Written by
At the time when he next sees his mother, Pu Yi says, "My mother has not seen me for seven years." That would make the year 1915, but it is wrong. He should say, "My mother has not seen me for four years," which makes the year 1912. In the spring of 1912, the new republican government divided the Forbidden City by constructing a wall, thus restricting the emperor's domain. Assuming that it is that dividing wall on which Pu Yi and Pu Chieh climb, one must reasonably assume that, since the wall is clearly under construction, the date is mid-1912 at the latest. If so, then Pu Yi has just turned six, not eight, and has been separated from his family for four years, not seven. See more »
The Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray releases are re-framed in director of photography Vittorio Storaro's preferred Univisium 2.00:1 format. This was the intended ratio for the film, despite it being commonly projected in 2.39:1 during its theatrical release. See more »
'The Last Emperor' tells the story of Pu Yi, as an adult played by John Lone, the last emperor of China. He was three years old when he first sat down on the Dragon Throne. He didn't know anything. The movie tells his story from that moment in flashbacks. We also get to see Pu Yi when the Chinese Communists have the power and he is imprisoned. Because people have taken care of him the rest of his life, from three years old to the moments inside the prison, it still feels he knows nothing.
To tell you about the life of Pu Yi would be a mistake. You have to see this movie to learn more about it. The strange thing is that Pu Yi can not do and decide much for himself. He is a hero of a movie where he is controlled by rules and other people. That is one of the reasons not many real things happen. We see the emperor grow up, we see him take an empress and a concubine, and then he has to leave the Forbidden City because the enemy is at the gate.
The impressive thing here are the locations and the costumes. Everything looks fabulous and it is not a surprise to find out that the movie was shot on location. With all the extras in those beautiful costumes there are a lot of very impressive scenes. May be the movie is a bit too long for some, it didn't really bother me. Director Bernardo Bertolucci has made a terrific movie.
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