This is a tough one....
While decidedly imperfect, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic is still a feast for the eyes -- this tension between the permissible and the forbidden, between exterior and interior, between the illusion of freedom and captivity, between light and darkness becomes the organizing principle of Bertolucci's spectacular epic … Bernardo Bertolucci takes this outline of Pu Yi's tumultuous life and transforms it into an absurdist journey in The Last Emperor, a masterpiece about the loneliness and hubris of believing that we can control our own destiny; it works the brain in two-part harmony: the melody skids effortlessly across the historical timeline of the Ching dynasty, China's last, and the harmony part is all aesthetic appeal. Bernardo Bertolucci's cinematic biography of Emperor Pu Yi is an astonishing, ravishing and smashing film... And it's a glorious production which won 9 Oscars - that's every major category for which it is eligible. T he Last Emperor is most decisively a lesson of nobility -------- t he expanse of time is saturated with an expanse of visual beauty that feels absolutely right for the story; a s coolly lavish an epic as we may ever see.
I'm giving it an "8.0"
I think I have two favorite scenes:
The novel,first-hand, young sovereign running and cavorting through the colorful banners and legions of faithful as he is familiarized to his subjects....Showed his incorruptibility and the irrationality of a toddler ruler while regal in the simple pageantry.
The "reformed" former emperor spies the communist leader who restructured him, now a victim of the changes in the cultural revolution, being ambitious and humiliated by his juvenile captors and mentors - unknowingly China repeating the absurdity of the children of total rule - and exemplifying the ironies and mockery of a failed revolution for justice, freedom and rights of the individual.