422 The Last Emperor

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Cinesimilitude
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422 The Last Emperor

#1 Post by Cinesimilitude » Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:42 pm

The Last Emperor

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/893/422_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated—quite a feat for a challenging, multi-layered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable—the life of Emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing 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.

- DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FOUR-DISC SET FEATURES:

- All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer of the extended television version
- Audio commentary featuring director Bernardo Bertolucci, producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Mark Peploe, and composer-actor Ryuichi Sakamoto
- The Italian Traveler: Bernardo Bertolucci, a 53-minute film by Fernand Moszkowicz tracing the director's geographic influences, from Parma to China
- Video images taken by Bertolucci while on preproduction in China
- The Chinese Adventure of Bernardo Bertolucci, a 52-minute documentary that revisits the film's making
- A new, 47-minute documentary featuring Storaro, editor Gabriella Cristiana, costume designer James Acheson, and art director Gianni Silvestri
- A 66-minute BBC documentary exploring Bertolucci's creative process and the making of The Last Emperor
- A 30-minute interview with Bertolucci from 1989
- A new interview with composer David Byrne
- A new interview with Ian Buruma examining the historical period of the film
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by David Thomson, interviews with production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti and actor Ying Ruocheng, a reminiscence by Bertolucci, and an essay and production-diary extracts from Fabien S. Gerard

ALSO AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY

4-Disc DVD:
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Single-Disc DVD:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages


Blu-ray:
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david hare
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#2 Post by david hare » Mon Jul 25, 2005 11:08 pm

SncDthMnky wrote:The R1 of The Last Emperor went out of print a few months ago, only days after I had heard about it. Has anyone heard anything about a reissue? Seems to me since it won so many awards and the fact that it's Bertolucci, there's a chance it could end up in the CC. Has Artisan (the R1 Studio) licensed rights to the CC before?
There is of course an excellent R2 Optimum 2-discer of both the shorter theatrical cut and the extended "director's version". Etailing around 16 quid. Somewhat cheaper (AUD 14.99/USD 11) but only the shorter version is a R4 edition (a port of the Optimum) from Magna.

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#3 Post by dspector » Tue Jul 26, 2005 5:37 am

There was a NY Times article some time last year about great films that had received less than great DVD transfers, "The Last Emperor" being a prime exhibit. The article stated that Artisan was working on a new transfer, with supervision by Vittorio Storaro. But I have heard nothing since then.

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#4 Post by DrBanan » Tue Jul 26, 2005 6:19 am

...and the Optimum 2-disc release can now be had on "Summer sale" at Play.com for £7.99 incl. P&P !

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#5 Post by jmj713 » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:45 pm

This needs a R1 2-disc edition! Can Criterion really get the rights?

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#6 Post by david hare » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:48 pm

I am staggered that so many people still haven't gone down the multi zone path. For a start Criterion's dance card is more than full and you could be waiting forever. For another the Optimum is a gorgeous release with the benefit of both short and long versions. And if you look further afield to R2 France there is a beautiful 2 disc reissue of The Sheltering Sky (French title Un The au Sahara, released by GCTHV), not to mention another European release of Partner (can be ordered through xploited.)

There is a whole world of DVD outside the US people! For instance Melville's le Samourai has been available in an unbeatably fine transfer with correct color values (not guaranteed with Criterion given their treatment of le Cercle Royge ) and English subs from R2 France - Rene Chateau editions - for over two years.

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#7 Post by Cinesimilitude » Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:52 pm

amazon UK has the optimum 2 disc for less than 8 quid. I'm ordering it.

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#8 Post by cafeman » Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:09 am

flixyflox wrote:(not guaranteed with Criterion given their treatment of le Cercle Royge ).
Again, I have to disagree. It`s the only available DVD with correct colors out there.

That said, the French Le Samourai disc is a task to match for Criterion, but it doesn`t have any subtitles on extras, and has also been out of print for a while now and only available from xploitedcinema for a prohibitive price.

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#9 Post by pzman84 » Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:47 pm

Doesn't Lions Gate own the rights to "The Last Emperor?" They did buy the Artisan catalogue and rereleased "The Crying Game recently.

I think the rights go like this

Live-Artisan-Lions Gate
Last edited by pzman84 on Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#10 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sun Sep 11, 2005 9:28 pm

I had forgotten about that. yes. but it doesnt matter to me now, the optimum 2 disc will suffice. i'd only upgrade if it gets criterion. which is quite unlikely with lions gate owning the rights.

I've received the disc, can anyone tell me which i should watch first, theatrical or directors cut?

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#11 Post by Dylan » Sat Sep 17, 2005 3:40 am

In my opinion, and I adore this film, the only version to watch is the director's cut. I've only taken a look at the theatrical cut (sans commentary) and the amount of scenes/shots/moments that are missing is kind of a travesty (in particular, many of Peter O'Toole's scenes). I'm sure the film works well in its theatrical cut, as that is the version that won all of the Oscars, but I just can't imagine this film without the scenes that are not present in that version. Also, it is gravely important to note that for the director's cut, the color schemes of some sequences have been modified deliberately by Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro to reflect the hero's moods, and when I watch the theatrical cut, a lot of brilliant color is missing in the composition. As a fellow Italian film fanatic, I highly recommend you watch the director's cut first, then the theatrical version with Bertolucci's commentary.

Dylan

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#12 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sat Sep 17, 2005 3:41 pm

The transfer for the theatrical is flawless, but I did notice that the director's cut has a few problems, the contrast is maybe a little too high, but this could be a problem with my all region player, and not the disc. either way, this is the best version of the last emperor out to date, with an hour long documentary on the making of the film, commentary by bertolucci and the producer, and the films theatrical trailer.

well, Since Lions Gate acquired Artisan's Catalogue, I would assume a special edition is on the way from them on region 1, but the optimum 2 disc is under 10 pounds. which is well worth it for now.

Edit: I looked into this further, when comparing the 2 discs side by side, one on my brothers cyberhome, and one on my cyberhome, the directors cut has more grain than the theatrical and is not as sharp. there are also some weird line things going on on the directors cut in some cases, which leads me to beleave that the theatrical is a progressive transfer, and that the directors cut is interlaced.

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#13 Post by Mental Mike » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:52 am

I liked The Last Emperor the first time when it was The Conformist (still it had its moments, too).

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#14 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:42 am

In the directors cut of this film alone, the part where his mistress leaves him I believe (when she goes down the stairs and into the rain, telling the servant she doesnt need the umbrella) , the music is just absolutely astonishing. I pop the disc in on a regular basis just to listen to it over and over again. Does anyone know if a directors cut soundtrack was released, or if there is any way i can obtain this piece of music in its entirety?

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#15 Post by thebedbreakinkid » Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:26 pm

i have the soundtrack to the last emperor, but i'm not sure if it's for the directors cut or original. all i know is that it is amazing and you all should go out and buy it

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#16 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:53 pm

And if you love the soundtrack, try and track down "Emperor's Main Course" by Kid Koala. He samples the soundtrack, mixes in some Cantonese dialogue between a waiter and diner discussing the menu and creates something pretty amazing.

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#17 Post by videozor » Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:10 pm

According to a trade magazine Criterion will issue a 20th Anniversary Edition of The Last Emperor. According to the same source this edition will include a new 4-hour cut prepared by Bertolucci exclusively for Criterion.

EDIT: [Here is Buttery Jeb's announcement of this news a couple of weeks ago in another thread. -- Jeff]

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#18 Post by justeleblanc » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:22 pm

videozor wrote:According to a trade magazine Criterion will issue a 20th Anniversary Edition of The Last Emperor. According to the same source this edition will include a new 4-hour cut prepared by Bertolucci exclusively for Criterion.
So essentially, Criterion is producing a new film? Is that technically correct?

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#19 Post by Jeff » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:33 pm

justeleblanc wrote:So essentially, Criterion is producing a new film? Is that technically correct?
Pretty much. Here is what the Video Business article said:
Bertolucci will tentatively deliver a four-hour director's cut of Last Emperor expressly for the Criterion set, which also will include the original theatrical version
I don't think that this is the first time this has happened. Wasn't the director's cut of Picnic at Hanging Rock a Criterion premiere too?

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#20 Post by Matt » Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:10 pm

Jeff wrote:I don't think that this is the first time this has happened. Wasn't the director's cut of Picnic at Hanging Rock a Criterion premiere too?
Let's not forget the "comprehensive cut" of Mr. Arkadin.

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#21 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:12 pm

Or, uh, Armageddon.

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#22 Post by Gigi M. » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:15 am

The new Spanish edition is cropped with Storaro's Univision system format 2:1. Possible the same shit will happen for the upcoming Criterion.

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#23 Post by Jeff » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 am

Gigi M. wrote:The new Spanish edition is cropped with Storaro's Univision system format 2:1. Possible the same shit will happen for the upcoming Criterion.
I would say that it's virtually guaranteed to be reformatted for 2:1. It's going to be a new transfer, and if Storaro is involved in it, I don't see how they can avoid it.

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#24 Post by Cronenfly » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:44 pm

No 2.35:1 of Tucker then, either... Will Martin Landau's mustache never be presented in its original aspect ratio?

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#25 Post by Gigi M. » Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:43 pm

Storaro is doing some serious cropping.

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