Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Event details

Asia and the Pacific Screens

Rouge 胭脂扣

5:15pm - 7:15pm
03 May 2016
Auditorium, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

1988, 96 mins, Hong Kong
Directed by Stanley Kwan 關錦鵬
Cantonese with English subtitles

In a 1930s Hong Kong 'flower house', Chan, a stylish playboy, falls in love with Fleur, a sort after courtesan who shares his passion for Chinese opera. When Chan’s family vehemently opposes their feelings, the lovers attempt a suicide pact... Flash forward to 1980s Hong Kong, when Fleur mysteriously appears in a Hong Kong newspaper office, wishing to place an ad to find her lost lover, who didn’t make it to the afterlife. With the reluctant help of a journalist and his equally bewildered girlfriend, they together continue searching for traces of her lost lover, in turn revealing how much of the city itself has been lost over the decades, leaving little trace of its past.

A leading director of the so called ‘second wave’ of the 1990s, Stanley Kwan’s films have often been sensitive portrayals of marginalised women, which—like Centre Stage 阮玲玉 (1991)—also appear a lament for the pace of urban and cultural change. A critical and commercial hit locally (Mui won best actress in Hong Kong and Taiwan, among the films numerous awards), Rouge also made a name for Kwan on the European festival circuit. The film is more poignant today for the untimely deaths of its stars: Cheung took his own life in 2003, aged 46; Mui succumbed to cancer in December of the same year, aged 40. Both were Cantopop pioneers, combining hugely successful careers in music and film, often singing the hit theme song of their movies (as Mui does for Rouge).

The screening will be followed by a short informal discussion.

This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Five: Made in Hong Kong, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World.

Download the poster

Updated:  16 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, China in the World /Page Contact:  China in the World