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Film Salon-Wuhan International Art film festival 武汉国际艺术电影展观影沙龙活动-末代皇帝
Area : No Limit
Venue : Tieji road subway station
Begin Date : Jan 21, 2017
End Date : Jan 21, 2017
Detail Time : 6-10pm
Free : Yes
Freq. : One-day event

The Last Emperor, like Once Upon a Time in America, is an epic saga that delves, among various aspects, into the realm of Time and the ensuing effects it has on a human being and his culture as it passes through his lifetime. The Last Emperor of the Qing dynasty, Pu-Yi, was coronated in 1909 at the age of three and due to his youth ended up being a puppet to his adminstration. Bertolucci successfully shows us a young man who while understandably spoilt by many luxuries of monarchy, is in actuality a tender hearted, independent thinker (not doer) who is passionate about his homeland (Manchuria) and has a ravenous desire for experiencing life in the outside world. His caged lifestyle in the Forbidden City (Beijing) is definitely a major contributor to this mindset. From his infancy the director takes us through a chain of historical events that ultimately lead to Pu-Yi being an ordinary man (we know this from the beginning, however flashbacks explain his situation at the start). However, it is not the desired lifestyle that he sought as an Emperor in his youth.

The Last Emperor is breathtaking in its cinematography and Bertolucci's direction is impeccable. A lot of criticism was directed at his film '1900' (1976) due to its sheer length. The Last Emperor clocks in at 215 minutes (director's cut) and barring 10 minutes of a marriage related scene, it never lets up. Bertolucci seamlessly interweaves the flashbacks with Pu-Yi's situation in post-WWII China by providing us with a real life tragedy that epitomizes human weaknesses, vices, love and loyalty. Here is a film that is a true story but goes beyond mere narration or simple depiction - it is a three and a half hour, non-stop attention grasping journey through the spectrum of humanity that defines our lifetime through the eyes of an unfortunate soul who was a victim of circumstances like many are. Any questions that the viewer will have concerning an event in the plot will be immediately answered through the rich tapestry that Bertolucci shows when depicting Pu-Yi's imperial life.

On a technical note, the acting in this film is brilliant. John Lone deserved atleast an Oscar nomination for best actor due to his seamless portrayal of Pu-Yi. He makes his portrayal of a 21 - 60 year old Pu-Yi seem like an effortless act. Through his performance the audience feels an even greater compassion for the last emperor as we come across a man who despite all the hardships he endured was very compassionate and soft centered. The sheer down to earth nature of his character as a 55-60 year old who walks with a tired smile, forever accompanied by his loving brother, is a testament to Lone's ability to portray any age and move the audience.

Once again, it takes a Hailey's comet like event for the Academy to nominate someone from the eastern world (or non-British, non-American when it comes to best actor). The rest of the cast is also brilliant barring Ryuichi Sakamoto (who portrays the one-armed Masahiko Amakasu) who, for the most part, presents us with a classic display of Japanese overacting. Although I wouldn't call it overacting in a Kurasawa-esque/Japanese film environment, it becomes quite hilarious in a production such as this.

This apart, the film is brilliant. It is the last great epic (yes, Gladiator is very good, but is far from an epic in my mind) and somehow I hope it is rediscovered and re-appreciated as it once was back in the late eighties.

While the Oscars have always contrived to ignore the true best picture for most of the last two decades, here is an example of a best picture winner which beat the competition by miles.


To join the film salon please message to reply to this post with a short self-intro (Your experience and love to art films?)

Due to space limit, we can only accept 20 participants each time.




   Wuhan International Cultural Film Festival 2016 is sponsored by China Film Association, Wuhan Municipal People's Government, China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Film Center. It is organized by China Film Association New Media Committee, CECP, WuhanTime, and Multi-Vision.

   Wuhan International Cultural Film Festival 2016 is devoted to provide a platform for art films to develop and grow, hoping art films are able to play greater role among various genres of films. We hope to introduce excellent international art films and production teams into China.


You are welcome to join us to vote and enjoy the latest art films of five countries. We have accepted 69 submissions in total. All the competitors come from five countries and seven regions like England, France, Singapore, Lebanon and Syria etc.. The shortlisted workings will be announced in this month and screened on weekends in advance. In the middle of December, the shortlisted films targeting England, France, America,Korea and China will be shown and the corresponding production teams will share something special with us. We are dedicated to creating an excellent base camp for art films in Central China. Either you are a youth director or a film fan, if you don’t want to miss out the audio-visual feast, please pay close attention to us.


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