Cinema: Free Fall Through History THE LAST EMPEROR

Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci Screenplay by Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci

He was stripped of all effective power at the age of six, before he fully understood what he was losing. Thereafter, he was permitted sovereignty only over what he could literally survey from the Dragon Throne of Beijing's Forbidden City: some 20 palaces, countless courtyards and a small army of thieving eunuchs. Even that dubious privilege was taken from him in 1924, when at 18 he was booted into exile. Later, the Japanese made him the puppet ruler of conquered Manchuria. Still later, the People's Republic of China made him a prisoner, charged with war crimes and ripe for nearly a...

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