Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, and Cong Su won Academy Awards for scoring this visually sumptuous rendering of the life of Pu Yi (John Lone), who was crowned emperor of China at age three. Shot on location with unprecedented access to the Forbidden City, Bertolucci’s film weaves in and out in non-linear fashion between Pu Yi’s education, married life, and eventual exile.
Jeremy Thomas: Bertolucci asked to meet me via his brother-in-law Mark Peploe, and I said “Let’s meet at Lee Ho Fook for a Chinese lunch.” I never understood the kind of meal I was going to embark on, but three and a half years later, after a lifetime experience, from 1984-87, we had made a movie in the old way. What you see is what we saw exactly. It was an epic in every sense.