The Last Emperor © Yanco Films (1987)
The Last Emperor © Yanco Films (1987)
The Last Emperor © Yanco Films (1987)

ACMI presents

The Last Emperor + Spring Matinee Launch

Bernardo Bertolucci | China, Italy, UK, France | 1987 | M

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Join us for the launch our Spring Matinee program with the new 4K restoration of Bernardo Bertolucci's nine-time Academy Award-winning film.

A blockbuster that manages to be historically instructive and intensely personal at the same time.

Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)

Winner of nine Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, The Last Emperor tells the sweeping story of the tumultuous reign of China’s last emperor, Pu Yi (John Lone). Beginning in 1950 when he is captured and imprisoned as a pro-Japanese war criminal by the Red Army, Pu Yi recalls his life story as a privileged and sheltered child, through to adulthood. His reign within the walls of the Forbidden City kept him insulated from the political upheaval that was happening around him. With revolution brewing outside, Pu Yi’s cloistered world is about to be irrevocably altered.

Director Bernardo Bertolucci (The Conformist, 1970 & Last Tango in Paris, 1972) brings his signature sensual gaze to this dreamy portrait of a dynastic empire in decline. The breathtaking cinematography by the esteemed Vittorio Storaro and the sumptuous production design is a feast for the eyes. The use of colour, light and texture conveys a decadent, erotic and excessive world that is starkly contrasted against Pu Yi’s later exile.

Notably, The Last Emperor was one of the first Western films to receive permission to film inside Beijing’s Forbidden City, giving its gilded grandeur a layer of weight and authenticity.

In his review of The Last Emperor, film critic David Denby stated that "Bertolucci has always been split in his love of the perverse sensuality that grows out of wealth and privilege and his belief in communism as a cleansing, austere force". In The Last Emperor, these two competing forces make for thrilling, awe-inspiring cinema.

Format: DCP
Language: English, Mandarin & Japanese with English subtitles
Source: Umbrella Entertainment
Courtesy: Umbrella Entertainment
Duration: 163 mins


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163 mins



Launch Details

To celebrate the launch of the Spring Matinees program, we are treating our audience to a complimentary coffee or tea and Portuguese Tart. Numbers are limited, so arrive at least half an hour before the advertised session time. Then join us in the cinema for a preview of the Spring Program before the film.


Full $9
ACMI Member $7

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See costumes from The Last Emperor in our centrepiece exhibition

These costumes, by James Acheson, enliven The Last Emperor's Imperial court with rich colours that bring grandeur to the screen. See them up close and personal in The Story of the Moving Image at ACMI.

Exhibition information | Read more about the costumes

The Last Emperor costumes

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