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The Last Emperor (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

John Lone , Joan Chen , Bernardo Bertolucci    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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The Last Emperor (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Empire of the Sun (Bilingual) [Blu-ray Book]
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Product Details


Product Description

Amazon.ca

Bernardo Bertolucci does the nearly impossible with this sweeping, grand epic that tells a very personal tale. The story is a dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the emperors of China. It follows his life from its elite beginnings in the Forbidden City, where he was crowned at age three and worshipped by half a billion people. He was later forced to abdicate and, unable to fend for himself in the outside world, became a dissolute and exploited shell of a man. He died in obscurity, living as a peasant in the People's Republic. We never really warm up to John Lone in the title role, but this movie focuses more on visuals than characterization anyway. Filmed in the Forbidden City, it is spectacularly beautiful, filling the screen with saturated colors and exquisite detail. It won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. --Rochelle O'Gorman

Product Description

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards®, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and without the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Ching-dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, The Last Emperor is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy.


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, but overblow production! March 4 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This film is too aware of the epic proportions of its story. This is a shame because the story is a fascinating one. It tells of Pu Y, who became China's last emperor during the early part of the 20th century. He lived in the Forbidden City, unknowlegable of the world and even the country around him. As a very young child and through his teens he had everything done for him, but then is pitched away when the country becomes involved in war. Not aware of life it becomes an uphill task to accustom himself. The story is incredible and actually excellent material for a mini-series. And, unlike a lot of mini-series would not be boring or stretched beyond interest. There is a lot of material here. But rather than rely on that material, director Bernardo Bertolucci elects to ignore the foundation and depend instead on never letting the audience forget the size of the tale. We are as an audience, therefore, put off everytime the story moves to a new plateau. We are forced to ask questions that are not answered because he attempts to cram too much spectacle into a three-hour movie.Technically, the film is superior. Its costumes, art direction and editing are incomparable. The music score co-written by David Byrne (formerly of the rock band, Talking Heads) is also superb. But it's the cinematography that is really the thing here. If it wasn't for that, the few bare threads of the original story that do come through would have been non-existant, leaving the film as shallow as they come.But the characters are the thing here and they become mere backdrops for Bertolucci's overblown self-awareness. It's not that Pu Y comes across cold and distant as some critics have remarked. And it's certainly not John Lone's very brave performance of said character that creates problems. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Redemptive April 1 2004
By R Jess
Format:VHS Tape
With 'The Last Emperor' Bernardo Bertolucci finally succeeded where he had failed with '1900'. In the previous film he tried too hard to document a period of Italian history through 2-dimensional characters placed in didactic situations. In this film he moved closer to the story of the central character and as a result we get a greater insight into the political upheavals of China at the time and how they effected those in power.
The story itself isn't entirely objective however as the Chinese government had final say over the script and made sure to correct any 'historical inaccuracies' they deemed damaging to China's image. Like most westerners I saw the individual fate of Pu Yi as essentially tragic, a once powerful if somewhat naive figure, brought to his knees by political machinations beyond his control. However, this is not how the story is seen in China or even by Bertolucci himself (who I believe is still a member of the Italian Communist Party). For them the emperor acts as a symbol of the collective and his re-education is seen as an act of redemption. The first step on his road to becoming a fully-fledged adult shorn of the childish priviliges and illusions he has lived with all his life. In one of the final scenes of the film, Pu Yi comes across his old prison governor being publicly humiliated by the youth of the Cultural Revolution. For the first time in his life he seems to empatise with the individual plight of a fellow human being and this spurs him to futile, yet ultimately redeeming action.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great ending March 12 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I bought the director's-cut dvd and I wish I hadn't. The movie was long around 3hrs and 20 mins, and the added scenes from the director's cut didn't make any difference in making the movie any better. I thought the movie moved quite slowly. In the beginning of the movie I thought it was obscene how the emperor Pu Yi's wet nurse kept showing her breast, I thought that it was quite indecent, especially when she breast fed him when he was already 7 or 8 years old. I guess my reaction was due to culture shock. After watching this movie I learned that the emperor Pu Yi really had quite a sad life, he was king but that title didn't bring him much happiness. He was used by the Japanese, he couldn't trust his servants, and in the end he was treated like a commoner. In the end it was so heart breaking when he had lost it all (all his wealth, respect, loved ones, etc.) I truly do feel for him. Even though I thought the whole move was slow and boring, the sad ending made the whole story and the experiences in his life meaningful. The ending is what ties it all together and make you look at your life in a whole different light. After having watched this movie I learn to appreciate the things that I have in my life and the people whom I share my life with. I have a greater appreciation of these things because I've learned from the movie that people and material possessions may not always last and be with you forever, so don't take anything or anyone for granted. This is a story of riches to rags. John Lone is a great actor in the movie, his acting was so genuine and believable, you'd think he really was the emperor of China. Overall, this was a boring movie but it brought great meaning to the words "Life" and "Destiny". If you think your life sucks right now, watch this movie and you'll appreciate what God has given you.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I had this movie on VHS but watching it on Blu-ray was almost like never having seen it before. I really appreciate the background information that is included in this release. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ross Chapman
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long
Our guide in China told us that this filmw was partially filmed in the Forbidden City so we thought we'd have a look at it. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Heidi Van Alstyne
5.0 out of 5 stars REMEMBERING MY CHINA TRIP
NOT SURE IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD MOVIE TO SEE BEFORE WE LEFT FOR CHINA BUT IT BROUGHT BACK GREAT MEMORIES OF THE SITES WE SAW WHILE WE WERE THERE. Read more
Published 15 months ago by GAIL CATHERWOOD
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Bertolucci's earlier "1900", a film full of great achievement and...
First off, Criterion does their usual impeccable job with both the transfer
and the extras on this new disc. Read more
Published on July 12 2012 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
I was very interested in learning about the last emperor and so I bought this tape to add to my collection of educational videos. Read more
Published on May 16 2011 by apple
5.0 out of 5 stars great blu-ray feature
I wish all blu-rays had this feature, but so far Last Emperor is the only disc I own where under Timeline you can add and delete your own bookmarks (utilizing the remote's green &... Read more
Published on July 21 2009 by Cheryl
3.0 out of 5 stars buyer beware the aspect ratio is NOT the original 2.35:1 but rather...
Although this brand new xfer from criterion, has been approved by the original cinematographer, vittorio storaro, he has gone and re-framed (as well as zoomed) the entire film to... Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2008 by Paul Shikata
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiromi from London is brainwashed by the Japanese Govt
To actual believe that the Rape of Nanjing was overstated or did not occur is equivalent to the Germans saying the Holocaust never occured. Read more
Published on May 5 2005 by Peter
3.0 out of 5 stars great film, awful dvd
I had the misfortune to buy this BEFORE I read the Amazon reviews and discovered that the DVD looked awful-a particular injustice for a film that won Best Picture. Read more
Published on July 5 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly Beautiful, Decadent and Misconceived.
I revere every Bertolucci�fs work tremendously, and this lavish film is no exception.
I was completely mesmerised by the view of the Forbidden City, beautiful period costumes... Read more
Published on June 25 2004 by Shiragami Hiromi
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