Segments in this Video

Edwin Newman Interviews Lucy Jarvis (03:43)


Jarvis explains how she obtained permission to film the Forbidden City in Peking. She shares anecdotes and describes how much she enjoyed China.

The Forbidden City (02:42)

The imperial palaces consists of three ceremonial palaces and numerous others, surrounded by fences and moats. Once reserved only for emperors, their families, and eunuchs, the Gugong became a public museum after the Chinese Revolution in 1912.

Tiananmen Square, Peking (03:19)

Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world, with a capacity of 1 million people. Meetings, banquets, and concerts are held at the Great Hall. Citizens ride bicycles to work; others gather to practice tai chi.

Peking Residents (03:13)

Viewers are introduced to the Liu family; see where they work and live. They meet at Tiananmen Square and will be followed by the production crew as they tour the Gugong.

Gugong's Ancient History (03:16)

The Forbidden City was built by Ming emperor Yongle in the 15th century on the ruins of the Mongol empire. Built of wood and tile, the imperial city has undergone destruction by war, fire, lightning, and weather, but has been rebuilt countless times using ancient books for instruction.

Rich Chinese Culture (04:11)

In the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Lius learn about Chinese inventions created far in advance of western culture. The Temple and Altar of Heaven is an architectural masterpiece, where once a year the emperor visited to call down the sins of all humanity onto himself to ask forgiveness. Dragons are the symbol of the emperor and are depicted in gold throughout the palaces.

Ming Dynasty Overthrown (04:27)

In 1644, a starving peasant army overthrew the Ming dynasty, only to be overthrown by Manchus. The Ming Tombs contain the burial sites of 13 emperors, but few are open to the public. Emperor Wanli's tomb was excavated in 1958.

The Manchus (03:50)

The Manchus defeated the Chinese peasant army by breaching the Great Wall. The Qing dynasty restored the war-torn Forbidden City from the original blueprints. Chinese were forced to wear the Manchu pigtail and ruled for three centuries.

Student Life (05:40)

Mr. Liu's oldest son, Jia Juin, is a chemistry student. Students' expenses are paid, but they must first spend several years participating in communal farm work, in the peoples' army, or working in a factory. Chairman Mao ruled that by participating in peasant and worker life, students and intellectuals would be united with them.

Empress Dowager Cixi (08:16)

The Liu family visits the Summer Palace of Empress Cixi, who was initially one of the emperor's concubines who gave birth to his only son. When the emperor died, his 6-year-old boy came to the throne, with his mother in control. After Cixi's death, many revolutions ensued until 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded.

Communal Farms Bring Abundance (02:32)

Four people in the Liu household have jobs and all contribute their income to the family. In contrast to the previous 2,000 years of famine and starvation, the Chinese people have been well-fed since the founding of the People's Republic.

History Lessons for Youth (08:49)

Grandfather Liu explains how harsh his life was prior to the Revolution. Mr. Liu takes his children to visit the Monument to the People's Heroes, so they can learn of the suffering of the Chinese people. Mr. Liu wants his children to understand that though the riches in the palaces are beautiful, many people died for a few to live in comfort.

Credits: China and the Forbidden City (01:23)

Credits: China and the Forbidden City

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China and the Forbidden City

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The first Westerner, man or woman, to film inside Communist China was Lucy Jarvis. Her unique blend of journalism and filmmaking provides a special insider's look at the mystery, opulence, and grandeur of one of mankind's greatest treasures—a city.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL142887

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

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