We are tipping our hat to an undisputed icon of Italian cinema, the controversial late auteur Bernardo Bertolucci, with a screening of his lush, challenging, multilayered epic period drama THE LAST EMPEROR – a film that won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated. The power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable—the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took China’s gilded throne age three, in 1908, before abdicating a few years later. he would go on to witness decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and without the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Ching dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, THE LAST EMPEROR is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy; after being captured by the Red Army as a war criminal in 1950, the film is told through narrative flashback as the adult Pu Yi recalls his lavish childhood as Emperor from within the walls of the Forbidden Prison. Starring John Lone, Peter O’Toole, Joan Chen, Victor Wong, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
“The life story recounted here is an utterly singular one without possible equal.” (Varierty)
“It probably is unforgivably bourgeois to admire a film because of its locations, but in the case of The Last Emperor the narrative cannot be separated from the awesome presence of the Forbidden City, and from Bertolucci’s astonishing use of locations, authentic costumes and thousands of extras to create the everyday reality of this strange little boy.” (Roger Ebert)
“The small screen doesn’t quite do justice to the rich visuals but with an incredible story and fine performances, it is still a compulsive and moving epic.” (Empire Magazine)
“A feast for the eyes.” (Rotten Tomatoes)
Presented by Rio Theatre and the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, in partnership with the Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver and Fare Cinema 2019, and with the generous support of Il Centro – Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver.
Sunday, June 23
Doors 7:30 pm | Movie 8:00 pm
Advance tickets $10.50 HERE | $12.50 at the door
*Minors welcome in the balcony. Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service and main floor seating.
**Rio Theatre Groupons and passes OK. Please redeem at the door.
THE LAST EMPEROR (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987 / 163 mins / 14A) A dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People’s Republic.