Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Runtime: 163 minutes
Country: United Kingdom, China, Italy, France, United States
Language: English, Mandarin, Japanese
BEST SCREENPLAY – BASED ON A MATERIAL FROM ANOTHER MEDIUM
& 5 more
Academy Awards 1988
BEST COSTUME DESIGN & 1 more
BAFTA Awards 1989
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE & 3 more
Golden Globes 1988
“China had become the front projection of our confused utopias”
– Bernardo Bertolucci
The first film shot in the Forbidden City, The Last Emperor is a multi-layered biopic which presents the last emperor of China, Pu Yi, as both the subject of and subject to history. Framed within Bernardo Bertolucci’s luscious surface spectacle and extravagant simulations of Qing Dynasty China, the sensual and irrational Pu Yi wrestles with spectatorship and surveillance throughout his life— from being overseen by eunuchs after enthronement at age three and his tutelage under British teacher Reginald Johnston, to his stint as the puppet emperor of the Japanese-controlled Manchukuo and austere re-modelling as an ideal Maoist citizen in his last days.
Scored by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Talking Heads’ David Byrne, The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, sweeping every category in which it was nominated. This seductive opium-dream of the Italian director Bertolucci traces decades of Chinese history through a portrait of a contested figure whose agency appears subject to the wiles of various political regimes.
Oldham Theatre’s opening hours
The full Orienting Paradise: Western Projections of the East programme can be found here. Tickets will go on sale Friday, 25 March 2022.
Friends of AFA members may select the “Friends of AFA” option and enter your membership number if you wish to redeem your remaining complimentary tickets.
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