Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor Essay

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor Essay

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The Last Emperor of China
Released in 1987 by Columbia Pictures debut, The Last Emperor of China is a representation of Puyi’s life as the last Manchurian emperor. The audience experiences the life of Puyi through a series of flashbacks that shows Puyi internal struggle through his desire to restore the Manchurian Empire and his new life as a peasant worker of the People’s Republic of China. The film was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and produced by Jeremy Thomas with the intention of reenacting the story of Henry Aisin-Giroro Pu Yi. Therefore people, who enjoy Hollywood’s attempts at recreating events of the China’s last emperor, will find this film fascinating as long as they do not attempt an analysis of the film’s historical accuracy.
In a series of events, the director displays 59 years of Puyi’s life from 1908 - 1967 in chronological order through a series of flashbacks and flash forwards during his imprisonment in the People’s Republic for his war crimes as result of his collaboration with the Imperial Japanese invasion of China. It was filmed entirely on location in the People's Republic of China. Bertolucci even received permission to film some scenes inside the 250-acre Forbidden City, which was the Chinese imperial palace for about 500 years. The film is structured as a flashback, with scenes from Pu Yi's boyhood intertwined with scenes from his adult years. The three-year-old Pu Yi is chosen and installed as emperor -- the last member of the Manchu Qing Dynasty to rule over China -- by Empress Tzu-Hsui (Lisa Lu). Pu Yi reluctantly accepts the imperial responsibilities and the kow-towing of everyone around him, even though he wants to behave like a normal child. When China becomes a republic, the young Pu Yi abdicate...


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...nsider your goals and happiness in life as it did with Henry Puyi, who ironically found his place in life no as China’s Emperor but as a normal gardener. These simple questions are interest provokers designed to make the audience want to learn about the life of Henry Puyi the last emperor of China, and The Last Emperor achieves these goals really well.



Works Cited

Adesina, Zack. "Children 'with No State' in UK." BBC London News. Www.bbc.com, 04 Nov. 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
Pu Yi, Henry, and Paul Kramer. The Last Manchu: The Autobiography of Henry Pu Yi, Last Emperor of China. 4th ed. New York: Skyhorse, 2010. Amazon.com. Amazon.com. Web. 24 Apr. 2014.
Rickery, Carrie. "History And 'The Last Emperor' Parts Of The Film Are Accurate, But Much Is Missing, Says A China Scholar." Http://articles.philly.com. Http://articles.philly.com, 30 Dec. 1987. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

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