Rouge (1987)

Rouge (1987)

A vivid, stunning gothic romance in Hong Kong, torn across decades

The Very Best

8.4

Movie

Hong Kong
Cantonese
Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
1987
STANLEY KWAN
Alex Man, Anita Mui, Emily Chu Bo-Yee
96 min

What it's about

The ghost of a courtesan who died in 1934 returns to Hong Kong fifty-three years later, seeking to reunite with the man she loved.

The take

Vivid, seductive, and highly romantic, Rouge starts as an enchanting tale of a ghost courtesan that haunts a modern-day couple to look for her lost lover. It’s easy to be swayed by the ghostly lovers – the courtesan Fleur (Anita Mui) and wealthy pharmacy chain heir Chan Chen-Pang (Leslie Cheung) start off the film courting each other (and the audience) through lush visuals, dramatic declarations, and Cantonese song. They agree to a suicide pact and promise to find each other in the next life. However, as Fleur haunts newspaper journalists Yuen and Chor, it’s clear how different Hong Kong has become. From its culture to its attitudes towards romance, Rouge suggests that while modern day Hong Kong may be more cold and standardized, the past as we know it is only a gorgeous dream. And that dream hides a tragic, sordid reality.

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