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The Last Emperor Essay

961 words - 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 ...view middle of the document...

In the film a Japanese pilot brought opium and shared with the empress. This caused the empress to grow an addiction and made Pu Yi look like a fool at a party. In general Chinese society opium made workers, traders, merchants useless. With this China grew weaker as a country, making China an easy target for other countries to come in and gain power. The warlords in China and Japan were great examples.
In the film warlords were almost a constant mention, but it was never fully disclosed who warlords were or what their purpose was during the dramatic changes in China. The Warlord Period, which was happening during Pu Yi’s time as a figurehead, not as an emperor, was a time of despair. Until the middle of the 1920s the warlords were a problem to the country of China. They became a danger because “they now were the possessors of modern weapons, which united them with their suppliers, the Western powers, and gave them command and money and resources.” (Morton, 181) Warlords were a symbol of the confusion and misguidance China was under as reform in government and the influence of other countries was taking hold. The Last Emperor merely mentions warlords in the film and leaves the viewer questioning why these people are such a burden to China and what exactly they were doing to cause problems. Even so, they were discussed at proper times in the film, giving the film historical accuracy on when warlords were prevalent and how the end of the warlord period ended with the rise of Japanese power.
Japan became very influential during the Republican Revolution and throughout the rise of the communist party in China until the end of World War II. In reality...

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