光緒皇夜祭珍妃

清末光緒年少登基,慈禧垂簾聽政。光緒深愛珍妃,欲納為后,卻遭慈禧反對,強立其侄女為隆裕皇后。光緒心中不滿卻無力反抗,唯對珍妃仍寵愛有加。此時中國國勢日衰,西方各國對中國早有略奪之心,國內有志之士倡議強化海軍,以防敵人從海路入侵。慈禧卻將建軍費用挪作建頤和園,此事引起光緒極大反感,民間亦怨氣沸騰。光緒乃與珍妃密謀,召翁同龢、康有為等,企圖變法維新,暗派袁世凱往天津奪榮祿之軍權,然後回兵京師,推翻慈禧的專橫統治,重掌國政。誰料計畫因袁世凱出賣光緒而失敗,翁同龢等被殺,光緒珍妃分別被軟禁,二人得太監相助,暗中往來。八國聯軍入京,慈禧攜光緒倉皇逃走,臨行命珍妃投井自盡。國難平息後,光緒來到珍妃自盡的井邊,對月長歎,偷祭珍妃,夜訴衷情。



Emperor Guangxu paying homage to Concubine Zhen at Night

Towards the end of the QingDynasty, young Emperor Guangxu accedes to the throne under Empress Dowager Cixi, the regent. The emperor’s efforts to make courtier Zhen empress are stopped by Cixi, who uses her power to install her niece as Empress Longyu instead. Though defiant, the emperor is too weak to take any action aside from increasing his affections toward Concubine Zhen.

 

Because of the political instability, patriots with foresight propose a fund to strengthen the navy. However, to the disappointment of the people and the emperor, Cixi embezzles the funds to build the Summer Palace. Conspiring with Zhen, the emperor summons Weng Tong and Kang Youwei to plot political reforms and a coup. Yuan Shikai is secretly dispatched to seize control of the troops so they can overthrow the empress dowager at the capital.

 

Yuan betrays the plan and the coup fails. Consequently, Weng Tong and others are executed, while the emperor and the concubine are placed under separate house arrests; they maintain secret contact with each other with the help of a eunuch. When the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers are at the gate of Beijing,Cixi flees with the emperor and orders that Zhen be drowned in a well. When the war is over, the emperor goes to the well to mourn for her, and, looking up at the moon, heaves a deep sigh.