#watched: The Last Emperor& My Memories of the Film from the Past

Watching The Last Emperor, always fills me in awe, and as well cannot feel but be reminded of an unfortunate incident from when I first watched this film in Lido cinema, decades back.

As a film itself, the sheer grandeur and splendor of cinematography and the visual excellence transcends time, even after sitting in awe, 3rd row from the screen, with my head constantly turning from extreme left to right (and visa versa) because of the widescreen transitions, and of course my closeness to the screen then … even until now, watched on plasma on cable TV (Bless you FX!), the images are as just gorgeous, if not a tad "over sharpened" though (restored in post production for television broadcast, perhaps?) which frankly irks me - something high-def images are wont to produce - and what I intimately miss about "film", with their softer detailing … but that's just my seemingly ancient celluloid tastes.

Mum sat beside me through a short portion of the film, this being her first time watching it, and of course me being the wannabe-cinephile regaled her with snippets of anecdotal stories of WHO the director was, of the actor John Lone, and her recognizing Joan Chen (but not necessarily knew her name) - funnily forgetting I abhor people speaking to me while watching films LOL

#watching #TheLastEmperor - an exercise in cinematography and cinematics #PopcornX

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What I remembered, besides the film itself, was with the situation which surrounded my viewing of this film, back in the mid-90s, when it premiered on Singapore screens.

I was studying design in a local vocational institute then, and I received a call from a fellow student one faithful afternoon, asking if I'd want to watch this with him - which I did not find "strange" then (or even if I did, but had since forgotten…), and we met up afters, and proceeded to watch said film, up close and personal-like haha

The infamous flower petal eating scene in #TheLastEmperor #PopcornX

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Leaving the theatre, I was suitably charmed and awed by what I had just experienced, in one of the longest feature films I'd sat in then … when amongst the crowd of threatre-leavers filling the cinema lobby, stood a lone lady, who I immediately recognized, and instantaneously realized what had transpired …

I have never asked either person if what I had suspected was "true", but in my heart, it was unfortunately the closest "answer" to WHY I had been called to come to watch this film …

It was obvious that SHE was his date for the film, but whatever had transpired, he had chosen to call me to come, in her stead. Funny thing was, we BOTH liked her in school, and had previously declared our intensions and had gone after her. SHE chose HIM. So it WAS quite a wonderment WHY he had called me to watch this, in the first place.

After I had said my hellos to her veiled sadness, and quick goodbyes, and walked away, I turned back to see them arguing silently, her gesturing in anger and anguish, him looking nonchalant and too-cool-for-school …

Personal stories aside, the strains of Ryuichi Sakamoto's score for this film, remain ingrained in my soundscape, and as I felt the loneliness and teared in my heart, listening to the closing theme in this evening's viewing, I am again awed by being able to feel such emotions from a score decades back, which I had not thought of, until now as I type these words, that the epic tune of tragedy and regret, as well reminded me of the friend couple quarreling, so many years ago…

I never did keep in contact with either of them though, and that perhaps, as well, led to the solemn memory and emotion.


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