Rouge (1987) Poster

(1987)

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Haunting and hypnotic, a beautifully understated classic
cjlines6 March 2004
Sometimes films just take your breath away. This is one of them, for me. I first saw it when it aired on Channel 4 in the UK in the early 90's and then recently managed to pick up a copy on video. After all these years, it's lost none of the impact it had on me when I first saw it.

"Rouge" tells the story of two doomed lovers in the early 1930's. He is a high class gentleman, Twelfth Master Chan Chen-Pang, the heir to three successful medicine stores. She is Fleur, a famous courtesan. His parents disapprove of both his choice of lover and also his passion for the Cantonese opera. They are horrified when he decides to give up the shopkeeping business in favour of becoming an actor and immediately order him to return to the family. So he and Fleur take their own lives, vowing to meet up in the afterlife and be together forever. Fifty years later, her ghost returns to the world of the living, still searching for her beloved Twelfth Master.

On the surface, it's a traditional Chinese romantic ghost story but there's far more lurking underneath. Essentially "Rouge" is a lament on a bygone age of pre-Westernised China, a yearning for a return to the old values, traditions and passions that are now lost beneath the neon lights and soulless rush of modern-day Hong Kong. It's also a lonesome mediation on the nature of trust and the complexity of human relationships with a tragic punchline and a strong sense of alienation running throughout.

Deeply melancholy, loaded with ravishingly beautiful imagery and haunting performances from the two gifted leads (Anita Mui and the ever-mesmerising Lesley Cheung), "Rouge" is an unforgettable, understated and utterly unique piece of filmmaking. A very strange, subtle blend of genres that floats around the mind long after the end credits have finished rolling. 9 out of 10.
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Rouge
jenlim11 June 2004
This is one of the best films I've seen. As far as ghost stories go, this is one of the scariest for me. It's not scary by way Stir of Echoes or Gothika, but it will give you chills like nothing before. Sure, angry ghosts are scary, but a heartbroken ghost is scarier. She could appear to your left right now and ask for your help. Isn't THAT scary?

If you love ghost stories, love stories, Hong Kong and Chinese music, this movie has all that. It was a pleasant surprise to find a film that told a familiar story so beautifully it becomes unique.

Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui were perfect for their roles. Watch out for the scene where Leslie wears Peking Opera makeup. Fans of "Farewell, My Concubine" will surely love the foreshadowing of Leslie's future internationally-acclaimed performance.
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A Gem
JB-826 October 1998
This is a film which is enthralling and gripping from beginning to end. It centers around two lovers from the "wrong sides of the tracks." Leslie Cheung is in love with a high class whore played exquisetely by Anita Mui (as Fleur - or "Flower" in English). Since society was against them being together, Anita poisoned them both but only she died. Her ghost spends the rest of the film (involved with a touching and oftimes comedic sidestory about a reporter and his girlfriend) in search of him. It is beautifully shot throughout. It really reminds one of the "one who got away" so to speak. A definite recommendation.
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8/10
promise
vodkatini8 May 2003
He promised to go with her, but she found no him. Fifty years had passed. She still kept searching. Perhaps no way did her world go complete without him. But did he keep his promise ??? That's the story.

Hongkong film industry reached the peak in late 80s, and this movie is one of the best produced that time. In it we can find very good actors and director, very beautiful cinematography, and a thoughtful story of course.

Silent and slow but not boring. A must see.
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for Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung fans
DanStarkey28 January 2004
One of those slow, lugubrious films that nevertheless holds your interest if you are intrigued by the stars. And in this case the stars are two all-time greats of Hong Kong cinema, Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. Cheung's complex performance as Mui's lover, simultaneously devoted and ambivalent, is nuanced by the knowledge of his real-life homosexuality. Throughout the film, the camera returns to focus on Mui's face; she holds one's interest through her ability to convey her inner thoughts through an amazing range of facial expressions.

This complicated love story is now made more poignant by the real life fact that both actors died young, in 2003 - Cheung by suicide and Mui by cancer. Recommended for romantics, film buffs, and devotees of Cheung and Mui.
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10/10
Chinese version of a European art film
vlinchong1 February 2000
A beautiful film - like a Chinese version of a European art film. A ghost who has been wandering around for fifty years looking for her lover goes into a newspaper office to write a missing persons ad. This film deserves more attention for its haunting story, wonderful acting and beautiful cinematography.
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7/10
A mysterious and eerie Chinese ghost story.
OllieSuave-0074 April 2015
This is a ghost story starring Anita Mui as Fleur, who falls in love with Chan Chen-Pang (Leslie Cheung), heir to a chain of pharmacies. After agreeing to a suicide pact, Fleur's ghost appears in modern day Hong Kong, in search of her lost love.

This movie captures a mysterious and eerie atmosphere, spelling out the tragic yet hopeful ghost of Fleur, and the suspenseful search of the missing Pang. It keeps you on your toes as you wonder if the two kinship spirits will reunite, and the haunting flavor of the ghostly plot will keep you captivated. The cinematography captures the beauty of 1930s Hong Kong and the visual effects were great in capturing the ghostly atmosphere. The acting, though, was a little wooden and the story was a little too dreary and depressing - a lack of action and spirit.

Overall, though, it's a pretty good ghost movie and stands out in Hong Kong Cinema.

Grade B-
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10/10
A Great Ghost Story
crossbow01061 June 2008
A deserved multiple award winner, this is really a great film. Starring Leslie Cheung as Chen and the late, wonderful Anita Mui as Fleur, this movie is about forbidden love (Fleur was a prostitute). They have a suicide pact, but only Fleur carries it out. Over fifty years later she is back trying to find him with the help of two local news reporters (they are not covering the story, she seeks their help). At first they're scared of her since she is a ghost, but then agree to let her stay with them and help her. What makes this a major cut above many films of its ilk is Anita Mui. She is absolutely beguiling in this role, looking just beautiful. Her expressions throughout the film are varied and perfect. It is an absorbing film, sentimental but never maudlin. This film makes me miss Anita Mui more, as we lost her way too young to cancer. This is one of her best roles and the reason I'm giving it 10 stars is due to its consistency of mood, the aforementioned performance of Anita Mui and the great direction of Stanley Kwan. Don't miss it.
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10/10
Beautiful romantic tragedy
mp-7157912 February 2021
It's a sad romance story...but written in a beautiful way.
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Sometimes weird but
STILETTOOOO14 June 2020
Classic, good old Hong Kong film. If you expected stylish one, this is far from it. Anita's performance was praised at that time but it is little unnatural and doesn't fit with the current times. But I enjoyed include those things. Leslie was gorgeous and perfect. That is the reason why I saw this till end.
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10/10
Such as flowers, like a dream, rouge tears in the alley
w-714745 April 2020
"Rouge buckle" it is "La Traviata" Hong Kong edition, if the flower should meet young dumas, she is the nature of the woman, he is a young man, so a pair of will not love interpretation into a scene. < / p > < p > twelve little after all, he really have a few into, even read countless such as flowers are not at ease, just in the wine with sleeping pills coax, forced her to swallow opium, their suicide behavior defiled the heroic word, love is willing to die, such as flowers and twelve less but is riding a tiger. In the end, she is love him, love his tenderness handsome and romantic, when love came to the end, he gave birth to timid, she half because of love, half because of unwilling, just set a game, this is a game of high stakes, the stake is life, with death to prove love.
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10/10
A piece of terrific art by Anita and Leslie
madbird-612437 April 2019
Anita and Leslie are pefect match of their roles in the movie. No doubt they can act so vividly the role in the movie. They both possess the aura of the beginning of twentieth century. The two superstars collaberated to create a melodrama that hits your heart so painfully, particularly when both are not with us now. There are so many flowers in front of the Mandarin Hotel from fans all over the world in April first. They are both living in the bottom of our hearts.

Lets hope that both enjoy singing together in another world.
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Rouge - about as red as a squashed tomato...
zoe_smith27 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
As soon as I found out this was a ghost from the past love story, my interest in the film completely evaporated. What a terrible storyline after an otherwise interesting beginning in old China amongst the opium dens and compelling characters. Ooohhh, so disappointing. The reaction of the modern day couple finding out they were lodging with a ghost really wasn't at all emotive, and quickly extinguished the feeling of romance. Not recommended.
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Well done, but too slow.
Chris J.16 July 2000
After the first half-hour when it becomes clear this is a romantic ghost story and you realize exactly where this film is going it's slow pace really begins to sink in.

It's a very well done film, well acted, a minimum of low-comedy (that rarely translates well to U.S. audiences) and has some nicely realized moments throughout. However it's a very slow film without a lot of twists, turns or surprises.

Christopher J. Jarmick (author: The Glass Cocoon -October 2000)
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