Monday, September 1, 2008

The Last Emperor

Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987 (9.1*)

Best Picture (AA, BAA, GG)
Sweeping historical epic, beautifully filmed, tells the story of the last emperor of the Ching Dynasty, Pu Yi, played by John Lone as an adult. We begin when he's really a playful 'tike' (this kid was wonderful) and takes the throne, and remains sheltered for decades inside the Forbidden City in Peking. Eventually history forces him outside, and he must deal with World War 2 and Maoism. Peter O'Toole plays his Scottish teacher, Joan Chen is terrific as his wife. Bertolucci's most ambitious and successful film, which also shows a major portion of modern Chinese history, though it is perhaps a bit long and slow in parts (over 3.5 hrs). The dvd set has four disks, holy toledo, a bit of overkill perhaps, but disk two has the director's cut, labelled as "The TV Version", while disk one was the theatrical release. 9 Oscars


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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