Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor

© Artisan Entertainment, 1987

Reviewing this masterpiece recently, we were again captivated by the awe-inspiring world of China’s Emperor of 10,000 years behind the walls of the Forbidden City. Bernardo Bertolucci has articulated such a brilliant and timeless chasm between the ancient and modern worlds, as China transitions from its last Imperial Dynasty to its eventual communism in this unique and still stunningly beautiful epic film. Not surprisingly, this film won 9 Academy Awards and was the first film to ever be allowed to shoot in the Forbidden City – with fantastic performances by John Lone, Joan Chen and Peter O’Toole and Oscar-winning Cinematography by Vittorio Storaro, Art Direction-Set Decoration by Ferdinando Scarfiotti, Bruno Cesari & Osvaldo Desideri, Costume Design by James Acheson, Film Editing by Gabriella Cristiani, Music/Original Score by Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne & Cong Su, Best Sound by Bill Rowe & Ivan Sharrock and Best Adapted Screenplay by Mark Peploe & Bernardo Bertolucci. Bertolucci also won for best Director and The Last Emperor won the Best Picture Oscar for 1988 – a must-see for all cineastes and a great one to look back on every decade or so for all of us who enjoyed this gorgeous movie the first time around.

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