Rouge **** (out of 5) (1987)

Cast: Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Emily Chu, Alex Man

Directed by Stanley Kwan

In the 1930s, a young and popular prostitute named Fleur catches the eye of an heir to a chain of groceries, 12th Master Chan. He does what he can to win her over, and the two soon fall in love. However, when his family disapproves and wants 12th Master back and away from Fleur, he feels the pressure and is caught between losing the love of his life or disgracing his family. Fleur and Chan decide that they will both commit suicide, and be together forever in hell. Now the clock moves forward 50 years, and the ghost of Fleur comes out of hell and back on Earth looking for her love, whom she has been waiting for. She puts an ad in the paper with the help of a couple of newspaper workers, who do what they can to help Fleur find Chan, and get to the bottom of what happened.

An absorbing and haunting story of forbidden love and death. It's all a fantasy, but the performances are convincing and the story compellingly tragic. Beautiful and poetic, and despite the somber nature of the tale, quite funny in parts. A very high recommendation, if you can get your hands on it.

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