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THE LAST EMPEROR (1987)

Following the extraordinary trajectory of the last emperor of the Ching dynasty. From his ascension to the throne, his abdiction, his installation as a puppet ruler and his capture at the end of World War II


The Last Emperor is all about colors and with Vittorio Storaro being one of the best cinematographers of all time, lighting is also magnificently used. Colors are used to communicate emotions that powerfully enhance the exisiting cinematography. The dark greys persistent in the prisoner scenes are symbolising the waiting and preperation for a new journey, but also a kind of sadness, until we see the first flash of color, when the Emperor tries to commit suicide – The red of blood, which can be seen as a symbol of death and rebirth. Red is also used later on, in scenes, such as the beginning of the Emperors life or significant events, for example, when he gets married. The next significant color in the movie is yellow, which can probably most dominantly seen in the scene where the young emperor plays with the yellow banner, lifting it up and revealing the courtyard. It shows the little emperor becoming aware of his surroundings, with yellow also being the colour of the sun, the divine. When the Emperor slowly becomes to acknowledge the world around him and the world beyond the Forbidden City, we can see the color green being introduced. The green bycicle with which the British tutor arrives brings knowledge into the Emperors world. We can see a change of colors to a more blueish tone, once he leaves the Forbidden City for the first time, with blue being the color of freedom and the future.
This excellent use of colours really helps support the great cinematography, creating a unique way to visually tell the story.

Director: BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI
Cinematographer: VITTORIO STORARO
Year: 1987
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1



The Last Emperor
Next Film: The Revenant
Previous Film: Koyaanisqatsi

January 10, 2018

If you like these Stills, make sure to buy the movie, it is our absolutely highest recommendation.

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