SECRETS OF THE FORBIDDEN CITY

  • 2008
  • Lion TV
  • BBC/History Channel

“Indiana Jones meets The Last Emperor with the odd Memoirs Of A Geisha thrown in …fascinating, relevant and revelatory”, said Time Out.   The Observer called it “sumptuous …well worth an hour a half of your Saturday evening” and the Indepedent described it as “stunning …with the narrative style of an airport thriller”.

The 2008 Olympics is not the first time that Beijing has hosted an Opening Ceremony.  In 1421, the great Ming Emperor Yongle invited 300,000 dignitaries to witness the inauguration of the Forbidden City.  Only that time it was marred by a serial murder so monstrous, it provoked the vengeance of the gods and saw the giant halls of the palace burn to the ground.

Three intimates of the Emperor – the Courtier, the Eunuch and the Concubine – took the secrets of Beijing’s bloody beginnings to their graves.  With dialogue gleaned from the long neglected Ming Chronicles, and translated for the very first time, at last we can give them back their voice.  They tell of a tyrant who slaughtered his family to steal the throne and who constructed a gilded prison stocked with concubines, policed by eunuchs and rife with greed, treachery and sin.

This feature length BBC and History Channel Special was filmed, amazingly, in an exact replica of the Forbidden City constructed for the Chinese film industry five hours’ west of Shanghai.   Scroll down the Films page to find more clips from the film that showcase the stunning cinematography and spectacular CGI.