The Last Emperor Essay

930 Words Apr 19th, 2013 4 Pages
The Last Emperor: Truth and Misleading In 1987, a film came into theaters across the globe about China’s last emperor. The Last Emperor, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, shows the life of Pu-Yi from when he enters the Forbidden City at age three to become emperor of China, to his final days as a reformed man. The film, although it showed how China was during the Qing Dynasty in a fairly honest light, also had its downfalls. Many problems plagues the last years of the Qing Dynasty, such as the Republic Revolutions, opium, warlords, and the confusing relationship with Japan and it’s government during this time. These issues were either not touched on or barely noticeable during the almost three hour long film. The story of Pu Yi, China’s …show more content…
In reality there was a dislike of Japan in Chinese society from the 1920s to 1940s. As Japanese power grew “anti-Japanese feeling all over China intensified.” (Morton, 182) They made Pu Yi a puppet in Manchukuo in order to gain power from 1924-1935, and this was made clear in The Last Emperor. The way Japan lost power in all conquered areas was also accurately shown with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, the relationship between the Japanese government and Pu Yi was misleading. In the film it was described that the Japanese emperor and Pu Yi had a very close relationship once they took power. The Japanese gave Pu Yi and his family refuge and even given “power” back. In reality he was only a figurehead and was told what to do. As for his wife, the film showed Japan to have power over her as well. In truth, the “empress” already knew Pu Yi was a figurehead and had no real power. The only thing to have power over her was her opium addiction. The Last Emperor was a film filled with historical accuracies, but it was also a film with missing aspects of the time. The Qing Dynasty was primed for a fast decline, and was no longer under the Mandate of Heaven in people of China’s eyes. Taken over by a revolution, a drug trade that caused laziness, warlords, and an odd relationship with Japan, Pu Yi would finally fall out of the public eye in 1934. He would be sent to prison and be reformed into a model citizen of China’s new government. The film ends full circle

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