A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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The Last Emperor


We snatched our hostel’s copy of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor to prepare for our visit to The Forbidden City.

The movie tells the story of Puyi, who became Emperor of China in 1908 at the age of three.  While still very young, he became a symbol and a pawn in revolution and war.  He was forced to abdicate the throne in 1911 when China first became a republic.

Later, he allegedly colluded with the Japanese when they invaded Manchuria in 1937.  After World War II ended he spent ten years in a “re-education camp” before spending his final years in Beijing working as a humble gardner.

The movie can be a bit slow at times, but it is an epic story and it does have a role for the always excellent Peter O’Toole. It also gave us some context for our visit.

The Forbidden City was off-limits to all but the Emperor and his court for 500 years.  It is considered to be the best preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China.



Unless you prefer the Emperor’s Summer Palace, located approximately 12 kilometers northwest of the Forbidden City.

The Summer Palace was laid out in the 12th Century, then destroyed by the British during the Second Opium War. Much has been restored, and it is well worth the better part of a day to explore the expansive grounds, temples, gardens and lakes.





1 Doug Spiro { 04.17.09 at 5:13 pm }

It must be something to see in person. I also agree about Peter O’Toole. He was fantastic in the movie. It has one of my favorite movie lines.

“Many heads have been chopped off. It does stop them”

Great photos BTW

2 The last Emperor | Ellamey Blog|Live Cricket|Online News { 04.18.09 at 12:46 am }

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