January 4, 1998 |
China's last monarch, described in Bernardo Bertolucci's film "The Last Emperor," was an impotent puppet who could barely feed and clothe himself. In contrast, China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, was a classic tyrant whose power and brutality have awed and disgusted Chinese for centuries. But leading Chinese director Chen Kaige is making a movie about Qin Shihuang that shows a hint of sympathy for him. "Despots are not born that way," he insists.