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The Last Emperor [4 Discs] [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [English] [1987]

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$49.99
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
4.0
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 2)

Special Features

  • Disc one: The theatrical version:
  • All-new restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro
  • Audio commentary featuring director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe, and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Disc two:
  • All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Disc three:
  • The Italian Traveler, Bernardo Bertolucci, a 53-minute film by Fernand Moszkowicz tracing the director's geographic influences, from Parma to China
  • Video images taken by Bertolucci while on preproduction in China
  • The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 51-minute documentary that revisits the film's making
  • A new 45-minute documentary featuring Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiana, costume designer James Acheson, and art director Gianni Silvestri
  • Disc four:
  • A 66-minute BBC documentary exploring Bertolucci's creative process and the making of the Last Emperor
  • A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci from 1989
  • A new interview with composer David Byrne
  • A new interview with cultural historian Ian Buruma examing the period of the film
  • Plus a booklet featuring an essay by David Thomson, interviews with production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and actor Ying Ruocheng, a reminiscence by bertolucci, and an essay and production-diary extracts from Fabien S. Gerard

Synopsis

The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor is the true story of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, the last ruler of the Chinese Ching Dynasty. Told in flashback, the film covers the years 1908 to 1967. We first see the three-year-old Pu Yi being installed in the Forbidden City by ruthless, dying dowager Empress Tzu-Hsui (Lisa Lu). Though he'd prefer to lark about like other boys, the infant emperor is cossetted and cajoled into accepting the responsibilities and privileges of his office. In 1912, the young emperor (Tijer Tsou) forced to abdicate when China is declared a republic, is a prisoner in his own palace, "protected" from the outside world. Fascinated by the worldliness of his Scottish tutor (Peter O'Toole), Pu Yi plots an escape from his cocoon by means of marriage. He selects Manchu descendant Wan Jung (Joan Chen), who likewise is anxious to experience the 20th century rather than be locked into the past by tradition. Played as an adult by John Lone, Pu Yi puts into effect several social reforms, and also clears the palace of the corrupt eunuchs who've been shielding him from life. In 1924, an invading warlord expels the denizens of the Forbidden City, allowing Pu Yi to "westernize" himself by embracing popular music and the latest dances as a guest of the Japanese Concession in Tientsin. Six years later, his power all but gone, Pu Yi escapes to Manchuria, where he unwittingly becomes a political pawn for the now-militant Japanese government. Humiliating his faithful wife, Pu Yi falls into bad romantic company, carrying on affairs with a variety of parasitic females. During World War II, the Japanese force Pu Yi to sign a series of documents which endorse their despotic military activities. At war's end, the emperor is taken prisoner by the Russians; while incarcerated, he is forced to fend for himself without servants at his beck and call for the first time. He is finally released in 1959 and displayed publicly as proof of the efficacy of Communist re-education. We last see him in 1967, the year of his death; now employed by the State as a gardener, Pu Yi makes one last visit to the Forbidden City...as a tourist. Bernardo Bertolucci's first film after a six-year self-imposed exile, The Last Emperor was released in two separate versions: the 160-minute theatrical release, and a 4-hour TV miniseries. Lensed on location, the film won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • John Lone
    John Lone - Pu Yi as an Adult
  • Joan Chen
    Joan Chen - Wan Jung, "Elizabeth"
  • Peter O'Toole
    Peter O'Toole - Reginald Johnston, "R.J."
  • Image coming soon
    Ying Ruocheng - The Governor
  • Victor Wong
    Victor Wong - Chen Pao Shen

Overall Customer Rating

(2 Reviews)
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