The Last Emperor
(Great Britain/Italy/France, 1987, 162 minutes)
The true story of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, crowned at the age of 3 in 1908 and a witness to the great convulsions of Chinese history in the 20th century. Stilted but dull epic resolving itself in a series of gorgeously filmed and choreographed visual tableaux that take precedence over the narrative. Director Bernardo Bertolucci later prepared a 217-minute "director's cut" that fleshed out the storyline and the characters.
A Jeremy Thomas presentation/production; made by Yanco Films and Tao Film in association with Recorded Picture Company, Screenframe and AAA Soprofilms. Starring John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole as R. J.; Ying Ruocheng; Victor Wong, Dennis Dun, Wu Jun Mei, Maggie Han, Ric Young, Jade Go, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa; with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci; produced by Jeremy Thomas; written by Mark Peploe with Bernardo Bertolucci; music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne and Cong Su; director of photography (Eastmancolor/Technicolor, Technovision), Vittorio Storaro; production designer, Ferdinando Scarfiotti; costume designer, James Acheson; film editor, Gabriella Cristiani.