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3D Conversion Of ‘The Last Emperor’ Will Be Unveiled At Cannes

3D Conversion Of 'The Last Emperor' Will Be Unveiled At Cannes

The insidious parasite that is 3D has not only infiltrated movies currently in production, but has wormed its way into movies already made and released. Way back in November of 2011, it was reported that cinematographer Vittorio Storaro was overseeing a 3D conversion of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 epic “The Last Emperor.” Word has been quiet since then, but it looks like audiences will finally be seeing the results as organizers revealed that the movie will get a world premiere at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, playing in the Cannes’ Classics Series along with restored prints of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “Cleopatra” and Hal Ashby’s “The Last Detail.”

“The Last Emperor” tells the story of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, and the film is well-regarded for its sweeping scale and beautiful visuals. It was the winner of 9 Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Score. “I’ve done a beautiful 4K 3D version of ‘The Last Emperor’ under the tutelage of Bernardo (Bertolucci) and (cinematographer Vittorio) Storaro,” producer Jeremy Thomas told Screen Daily in the spring. “It’s perfect, beautiful, and it makes the film look incredible.” But whether or not it was necessary is up for debate.

But we’ll see the results next month. The Cannes Film Festival runs this year from May 15th to 26th. Full Cannes Classics lineup below.


BOROM SARRET (1963, 20’) by Ousmane Sembène

CHARULATA (CHARLUTA: THE LONELY WIFE) (1964, 1:57) by Satyajit Ray

CLEOPATRA (1963, 4:03) by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

FEDORA (1978, 1:50) by Billy Wilder

GOHA (1957, 1:18) by Jacques Baratier

HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR (1959, 1:32) by Alain Resnais

IL DESERTO DEI TARTARI (THE DESERT OF TARTARS) (1976, 2:20) by Valerio Zurlini

LA GRANDE ABBUFFATA (LA GRANDE BOUFFE) (1973, 2h05) by Marco Ferreri

LA REINE MARGOT (1994, 2:39) by Patrice Chéreau

LE JOLI MAI (1963, new 2013 cut: 2:25) by Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme


LUCKY LUCIANO (1973, 1:55) by Francesco Rosi


PLEIN SOLEIL (BLAZING SUN) (1960, 1:55) by René Clément

SANMA NO AJI (AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON) (1962, colour, 2:13) by Yasujirō Ozu 


THE LAST DETAIL (1973, 1:44) by Hal Ashby

THE LAST EMPEROR 3D (1987, 2h43) by Bernardo Bertolucci

VISIONS OF EIGHT (1973, 1:49) by Youri Ozerov, Milos Forman, Mai Zetterling, Claude Lelouch, Arthur Penn, Michael Pfleghar, John Schlesinger, Kon Ichikawa.

In honour of the 50th anniversary of Cocteau’s death, LA BELLE ET LA BETE by Jean Cocteau (1946, 1:34) as well as OPIUM (2013, 1:15), a musical comedy directed by par Arielle Dombasle, will be shown during a very special evening.

Euzhan Palcy’s film, SIMEON (1992, 1:55) will be screened in honour of the 100th birthday of Aimé Césaire.


CON LA PATA QUEBRADA (2013, 1:23) by Diego Galán (Spain)

A STORY OF CHILDREN & FILM (2013, 1:40) by Mark Cousins (Great Britain)

Finally, in tribute to Joanne Woodward (presence to be confirmed), who can be seen with husband Paul Newman on the poster of the 66th edition, the Festival will screen the final film she produced: SHEPARD & DARK by Treva Wurmfeld (2013, 1:29).

In addition, Cannes Classics will also be part of CINEMA DE LA PLAGE where the following restored films will be shown:

JOUR DE FETE (France, 1949, 1:27) by Jacques Tati
THE GENERAL (1926, 1:18) by Buster Keaton
THE BIRDS (1963, 2:09) by Alfred Hitchcock
LE GRAND BLEU (THE BIG BLUE) (1988, 2:16) by Luc Besson
THE LADIES’ MAN (1961, 1:35) by Jerry Lewis
L’HOMME DE RIO (THE MAN FROM RIO) (France, 1964, 1:52) by Philippe de Broca
 (1923, 1:13) by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

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Tony R

I agree with Daniel. Complaining about things being in 3d, when you can totally see the 2d version just as easy is silly. It's like complaining that there is a Hardee's when you only like Mcdonald's and it is just down the street 1 block away. It makes no sense. I think what is really going on here is these people back in 2009 and 2010 where saying "Nobody wants 3d. It will be gone from theaters in 6 months tops." Then people kept going to the 3d showings and they suddenly had egg on their faces. So now they have this kind of smear campain to try and cover up their total mistake on telling everyone 2 years ago that "3d is gone in a few months." They are on some way trying to save face.

Eric Tan

I agree that 3D conversion of older, previously released movies is unnecessary, but I bet there are exceptions. Having said that, I understand that the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park a few weeks back was one example of one good conversion, but I didn't think it warranted my hard earned money. I saw the original in cinemas twice.
Just last week, I thought the 3D in Iron Man 3 was completely unnecessary and it distracted me from the movie and the story, having to wear the 3D glasses. And I searched for cinemas showing it in 2D but there were none. Obviously, cinemas are very receptive to the idea of more movies in 3D because they can and will charge more.
I would prefer that older movies should be properly restored for Blu-Ray versions…


Right — 3d is a gimmick that has outstayed it's welcome…for you. A huge number of people enjoy 3d, so it seems strange to want them to not have that experience simply because you don't enjoy it — it makes more sense for you to simply not go to 3d films — and seeing as though every major 3d film is also released in 2d, you aren't missing anything. The solution is to ignore it. 3d movies do not choke out the release of any film any more than any other blockbuster film does; indie films will always be a little harder to find by their very nature, and even then they are pretty easy to access – Upstream Color is playing in every major city in the US, for instance — and normally at theaters that cater to people with that kind of sense for film — very doubtful you will see that on the marquee with The Croods. And though 3d is largely used for big budget gimmicks, it's occasionally used for art — like the Pina documentary, or Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, both of which benefit enormously from 3d, and not in a gimmicky way. The reason these works of art could be made is because of the huge success of the medium in mainstream film. It's like people who want art films complaining about big dumb action films dominating the theaters — when the money the action film makes pays for the distribution of the indie in the first place.


Kill the 3D parasite. 3D is today's version of Ted Turner's let's colourize everything that was done in b/w. The 3D gimmick has outstayed it's welcome. Most movies do not benefit from 3D gimmicks. The only benefit is the extra cash the studio sucks from your wallet and that only benefits them. Unnecessary 3D clogs up the movie theaters, forcing them to offer fewer movies and for shorter runs. 3D works better for virtual reality experiences, ie gaming, not movies.


I'm thrilled that the film has been rescanned at 4K, as the existing Criterion Blu-Ray uses a clearly outdated transfer that they were given by the film's owners. I couldn't care less about the 3D aspect.

Sadly, with Storaro in charge we'll still most likely have the film cropped on both sides to 2.0:1, and we'll hear more of his BS about how he intended it that way, even though he didn't introduce his bizarre Univisium system until a decade later. The cropping is disastrous, cutting people in half and ruining the compositions. A few shots are even squeezed to keep three people sitting side-by-side all in the 2.0:1 frame.


It makes a difference if, like Ted Turner and colorization or George Lucas and the Star Wars 'improvements,' the original version is hard to get a hold of; but this will never be the case for 3d. Complaining about something that you have a choice about experiencing is kind of embarrassing — the only possible effect it can have is to make it harder for people who do enjoy 3d to get a chance to experience it by creating a negative buzz. Instead, how about this: don't like it? Don't watch it. Problem solved.


what. the. fuck.

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