Video Release: January 6, 2009
Rating: PG-13 (MPAA)
Studio: Image Entertainment, Inc.
- Director's Cut
- Runtime: 164 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in English
- Released in English
In 1908, three-year-old Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne and became the last emperor China was ever to know; by his eighth birthday, a new government had already seized power, keeping him only as a figurehead and a sop to tradition. The film chronicles Pu Yi's entire life, from his childhood in the Forbidden Palace, whose gates defined the limits of his world, through his time as the Japanese-controlled puppet ruler of Manchuria, and finally, to his capture by the Communists, who put him through a ten-year "re-education" program. After his release, Pu Yi -- the child who had done nothing for himself, who had had multitudes of servants to perform every small task -- spent the remainder of his life as a gardener, finally finding a measure of happiness and freedom in his work. When he once again visits the Forbidden Palace, now open to the tourist trade, and sits for a moment in the throne from which he had once ruled, all he feels is a confused mixture of emotions.
The epic, true story of Pu Yi, who became China's Last Emperor at the age of 3. After Mao's revolution, the Emperor's "Forbidden City," in which the film was actually shot, becomes more of a museum where he is a living exhibit. Academy Award Nominations: 9. Academy Awards: 9, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best (Adapted) Screenplay.
The film premiered on the closing night of the Tokyo International Film Festival, October 4, 1987. Bertolucci shot the film on location, and the Chinese government allowed him to film in the Forbidden City, which for years had been closed to tourists and non-Chinese, and which had never before been filmed. Most critics agreed that this film contained one of the most lavish production designs in cinema history. Many of the costumes were Chinese originals, and the estimated budget was $25 million. This was Bertolucci's first film since "Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man" (1981), and it ended his six-year hiatus from directing. Shot in Technovision.