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گצ (1988)
Rouge


Reviewed by: ororama
Date: 08/22/2018

Rouge looks at differing male and female perspectives on love in two eras while telling a tragic ghost story. Director Stanley Kwan effectively contrasts a romantic view of the brothels and theaters of Hong Kong in the mid-1930s with a prosaic view of contemporary Hong Kong. He suggests that while life has changed in many ways over the intervening years, people have changed less than they might think.

Anita Mui is haunting as Fleur, a popular prostitute in one of Hong Kong's leading brothels. She falls in love with Master 12, the heir of a well-to-do merchant family, played by a well cast Leslie Cheung. Fleur refuses to acknowledges the impossibility of her dreams or the limitations of her lover. She returns more than fifty years after her death to find out why Master 12 has not followed her as they had agreed. She is assisted in her search for Master 12 by a couple (Alex Man and Emily Chu) in a modern relationship, which seems to meet their day to day needs, but appears static and perhaps unsatisfying for them. As they become enchanted by the story of the past romance, the modern couple began to question where their own relationship is going.

Rouge celebrates beauty, while simultaneously offering an invitation to contemplate the meanings of romantic love and what we expect from it. It is one of the masterpieces of Hong Kong cinema.


Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 11/15/2009

The first in a string of noteworthy Lillian Lee adaptations filmmaker Stanley Kwan's "Rouge" is a surreal anxiety attack on celluloid that relies heavily on the captivating performance of lead Anita Mui and the arresting score by composers Michael Lai and Tang Siu-lam to inflate this critically lauded ghost picture.

Leslie Cheung is the eldest living son of prosperous shop owners who falls in love with the most coveted courtesan (Mui) of an affluent brothel in Hong Kong, circa 1934. The young master's parents naturally disapprove; freeze his cash flow, later forcing the would-be lovers into a suicide pact so their spirits can fuse in the afterlife. Decades later, the courtesan's ghost returns searching for the young master who apparently didn't expire. Her human counterparts are dullards Alex Man and Emily Chu who navigate the weakening ghost through 1987 Hong Kong in search of her true love (presumably still residing in the area).

Thankfully, Kwan eschews the nominal lynchpins of the fish-out-of-water narrative in contemporary Hong Kong though he flattens any semblance of context in the lovers' doomed union and his overuse of pretentious slow motion photography is exhausting.

Audiences may wonder if there was more to Lee's novel though the author is listed as one of two credited screen writers.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 07/20/2008
Summary: Great acting and a very good drama...

I can't really add anything to cal42's excellent review. Both Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui are fantastic, as expected. The entire film works very well as a romantic tragedy, with the aspect of the immense change Hong Kong has gone through in a relatively short time as the backdrop. It's ironic and a shame that both Cheung and Mui were taken before their time. Highly recommended!

8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 10/26/2006
Summary: A must-see

In 1934, 12th Master Chan (Leslie Cheung) is a son of a wealthy, high profile businessman. He becomes increasingly infatuated with concubine Fleur (Anita Mui), who succumbs to the 12th Master’s charms leading the pair to fall hopelessly in love. However, the match is not blessed by Chan’s parents, who understandably wish for their son to find a more respectable woman to share his life. Meanwhile, in 1987, a news printer runs into a mysterious woman who is searching for her lost love.

ROUGE won a boatload of awards on its release in 1988 with its sharp script, interesting leads and haunting theme. It is often regarded as an “art-house” film (whatever THAT means) but the truth is it’s just a superior film that tells a great story in quite a unique way. Some of the techniques and plot devices are a LITTLE heavy-handed VERY occasionally, but other than that it is free of the usual “arty” clichés that can bog a film down. In fact, it’s refreshingly free of sentiment and melodrama, and moves at a cracking pace.

Alex Man and Emily Chu are brilliant as the modern day couple – with the type of practical relationship characteristic of modern times. The contrast between them and the passion and earnestness of the 12th Master and Fleur is one of the driving points of the film – and definitely one of the elements that really make it work. The lead characters played by Cheung and Mui are, of course, the focal point of the piece, and it has to be said that they make a convincing couple. Obviously these days the film is lent a special kind of poignancy as neither lead survived to reach old age, but it remains that this was a classic well before tragedy struck.

One word of warning to newcomers: if you buy the Fortune Star DVD of this film, do not read the back of the box as it gives everything away. It’s not THE SIXTH SENSE, but this film definitely works better when you know as little as possible about the plot. When I first saw the film, I knew literally nothing about it, and was blown away. What I’ve written in the first paragraph of this review is enough (or indeed too much) for you to enter the world of ROUGE and come away from the experience knowing that you’ve seen something truly different.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/09/2000

Rouge is about two lovers, played by Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung. She was a prostitute in a brothel and he was the son of a rich family. Like many romances, theirs is tragic. They form a suicide pact and swear that they will meet again as ghosts. When Anita Mui returns many years later for their meeting she cannot find Leslie Cheung.

She is helped in her search by a modern couple played by Alex Man and Emily Chu. These two are really just overshadowed by Anita and Leslie, and it doesn't help that their parts are underwritten. However, Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung were both fantastic and their story was very beautiful and well told. This movie had one of the most emotionally powerful endings I've ever seen.


Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

I found this less boring than most other Stanley Kwan films, but still rather slow and overstated. Never quite get a handle on Alex Man and Emily Chu's characters. Never really feel attached to Anita Mui's prostitute lost in time.


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

In 1930's Hong Kong, a young man falls in love with a high class prostitute. Refusing to accept her, his rich parents cut off his allowance, forcing him to try unsuccessfully several jobs, and forcing her to continue entertaining men. Eventually they make a suicide pact. She dies but he loses his nerve at the last moment. They had planned to reunite in the spirit world, so when he doesn't come, she returns to the mortal world to find him. But one day in the spirit world is fifty years in the human one, and she is lost and helpless in a Hong Kong of the late Eighties. Her distress earns the sympathy of young newspaperman Alex, who helps her in the quest to be reunited with her lover.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A very off-beat ghost story, & one of my favorites; haven't seen any other Kwan films.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]