What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this nearly four-hour film, covering six decades of Chinese history, contains some violent scenes, including a bloody attempted suicide, an execution-style murder with a direct gunshot to the head, and brutal newsreel footage from World War II. There are numerous scenes depicting opium use and its effects. Bare breasts are revealed as a baby and then a young child is nursed several times. Sexual activity includes a young couple kissing and exploring their clothed bodies on their wedding night; a carefully-shot sequence showing a married couple along with the couple's "second wife" engaging in foreplay beneath a satin coverlet; and an extended lesbian toe-sucking scene while the two women involved smoke opium. For older teens it offers a substantially accurate look at China during the last century, and accomplishes the rare feat of bringing history vibrantly to life.
- Families can talk about the movie's style. How did the back-and-forth structure, from the prison camp to the past, help you understand what happened to Pu Yi?
- What events were most significant in changing Pu Yi's view of the world?
- This film is an example of moving-making that increases our knowledge and interest in history and other cultures. What other movies have you seen that have been able to do that? What resources are available to you if you want to learn more?
- Why do you think the director and artists used the color red so extensively in the sets, costumes, and scenery? What feelings does it evoke?