The Last Emperor

D: Bernardo Bertolucci
Columbia (Jeremy Thomas)
UK/Italy/China 1987
160 mins


W: Mark Peploe & Bernado Bertolucci [based on the autobiography "From Emperor To Citizen" by Pu Yi]
DP: Vittorio Storaro
Ed: Gabriella Cristiani
Mus: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Cong Su & David Byrne
PD: Fernando Scarfiotti
Cos: James Acheson

John Lone (Puyi), Joan Chen (Wanrong), Peter O'Toole (Reginald Johnston), Victor Wong (Chen Baochen)

Bernardo Bertolucci's picturesque biopic of Pu Yi, the last emperor of a historical Chinese dynasty, is a visual treat, full of meticulous detail and beautiful photography, but at 160 minutes long, it weighs quite heavy. 
Following the young emperor from his birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City. As a child, he was the object of worship by half a billion people, followed by his abdication, exploitation by invading Japanese forces and closing with his obscure existence as a peasant worker in the People's Republic of China, now a communist regime.
Bertolucci's work is historically accurate, but the dramatic pacing of the film often lags. Nevertheless, it was a critical darling, winning all 9 of the Oscars for which it was nominated.
I'll admit this is probably a film which I'll need to watch again, but on my initial viewing, I wasn't anywhere near as impressed as the Academy was.

The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor