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Rouge
  • Rouge

Durham
Rouge

Griffith Film Theater, Duke Campus—For those of a certain age—mine, to be exact—the Hong Kong cinema moment is something that has come and gone, and now we look back at it with nostalgic appreciation, much like those who witnessed the 1960s heyday of Truffaut, Godard and Bertolucci. Most of the HK directors tried their hand in Hollywood, and the stars—Chow Yun-Fat, Maggie Cheung, Jackie Chan—have largely aged out of their primes. Tonight at Duke, however, you can see Stanley Kwan's Rouge, a fine example of what was so distinctive about the best work coming out of Hong Kong in the late 1980s and for a decade after. Rouge tells the story of Fleur, an opium den courtesan in 1930s Hong Kong who makes—and executes—a suicide pact with her playboy lover (Leslie Cheung, a star actor at the time, who killed himself in 2003). They vow, however, to meet 50 years hence in the afterlife. The bulk of the story, then, is about Fleur's return to Hong Kong in the 1980s, to reunite with her lover, whom she can't find anywhere. The film becomes a meditation on the wrenching societal changes that transpired in Hong Kong in a half century. As poor Fleur looks for her lover, she's a laughable anachronism, a throwback to a long-gone world of opium and ghosts and suicide pacts. It tells you something about the Hong Kong film industry—and the clash of Chinese tradition and modernity—that this arty, ironic film was co-produced by Jackie Chan. Film time is 8 p.m., admission is free. Visit fvd.aas.duke.edu/screensociety. —David Fellerath

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