Rouge - Failed to Connect “Brother Leslie” and “Aunt Mui”

  Rouge is a love film directed by Stanley Kwan and produced by Jackie Chan in 1987. It was starred by Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung. After the film was released, it won 3 Taiwan Golden Horse Awards and 6 Hong Kong Film Awards. The film is an early work of Stanley Kwan. After the original author Lilian Lee got involved in the creation of the screenplay, it perfectly restored the novel’s temperament of sweet in sorrow.


    Rouge tells about a love tragedy that happened in the 1920s. A female ghost Ruhua (starring Anita Mui) waited in the underworld for a full fifty years, but failed to wait for the person she expected to come. She had no choice but to return to the human world. After asking a staff member of newspaper for help, she told her story - she was waiting for a lover dying for love.

    More than 50 years ago, Ruhua was the No.1 prostitute of a playhouse. Although her appearance did not have the stunning beauty, she took the breath away of thousands of rich boys when she was singing disguising herself as a man. The boy ranking 12th in age of Mr. Chen (starring Leslie Cheung) was one of the rich boys. He fell in love with Ruhua at first sight.

    The two, a talented guy and a beautiful lady, were a perfect match and lived a pleasant life. In the process of living together, Ruhua gradually found that different from the other play boys, he was a person worthy of life-long commitment. So she made a private decision to stay with him for life. As a result, she washed away the rouge powder, put on the cleanest clothes and went to Mr. Chen’s house with a plain face to implore his mother for accepting her. But because of the wide gap between the couple’s family backgrounds, Ruhua was rejected by Ms. Chen ruthlessly.

    The boy, in order to stay with Ruhua, broke with his parents and ran away from home, and started to learn singing in Chinese opera to make a living. The wealthy boy turned into a small role on the opera stage. Meanwhile Ruhua returned to her former career. An actor and a prostitute lived a life with the most true feelings.

  But there was always something unexpected. The two got addicted to opium and lost their economic incomes, gradually coming close to despair. They believed that only death could make them inseparable. One day, Ruhua prepared opium and sleeping pills, ready to go die together with her man. But finally, she has not found the image of her man after waiting for 50 years on her Death Road.

    Returning to the human world, she posted an advertisement on the newspaper that read: “My lover Mr. Twelve: One Eight One One, see you at the old place. - Ruhua. ” One Eight One One indicated the date and time of their death for love.

    The Rouge, as the film title indicated, was a gift the boy bought for the girl at a stall when they were impoverished, the symbol of their love.

  The two starring roles in this film are Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui, who have become symbols of Hong Kong and even the entire Chinese show business. “Brother Leslie” and “Aunt Mui”, making the love tragedy of Mr. Twelve and Ruhua a sweet sorrow, have become cinematic classics. However, very few people knew that according to the original role plans of the film, Anita Mui, Adam Cheng, Andy Lau and Cherie Chung starred Ruhua, Mr. Twelve, Yuan Yongding and Achu, respectively. Later, because of schedules and other reasons, the film shooting plan has been repeatedly postponed. In the end, only Anita Mui, who cherished the role of Ruhua, was retained. When Stanley Kwan started to shoot, the original author Lilian Lee proposed that she was thinking about Leslie Cheung when she created the role Mr. Twelve. So she hoped Leslie Cheung would play the role.

    However, the production company of the film was Jiahe Entertainment Limited, while Leslie Cheung was the artist of Cinema City. At this time, Anita Mui of Jiahe, proposed to help the Cinema City make a film in exchange for the role played by Leslie Cheung in Rouge. As a result, the “Brother Leslie” and “Aunt Mui” had this classic cooperation.

The Rouge made 31 years ago is being screened at this year’s BJIFF, showing the passion of love that evokes praises and tears on the big screen.

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