Fri, 29 July 2022
In episode 55 of the Podcast for Social Research, BISR faculty Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Rebecca Ariel Porte, and Isabella Katrina Litke sit down after our Occasional Evening screening of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 masterpiece The Last Emperor to discuss the film’s making, themes, and fascinating approach to the grand sweep of 20th-century Chinese history. What can The Last Emperor, in its depiction of the Pu Yi’s fall from emperor to re-educated common gardener, teach us about the interplay of aesthetics, politics, and history? How does the film manage, where so many period pieces fail, to aestheticize history while also eschewing nostalgia? And what does it mean, cinematically, to democratize the past?