Stanley Kwan – Hong meigui, bai meigui aka Red Rose, White Rose (1994)

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Plot Synopsis

This sensitive Asian melodrama chronicles the two major loves in the life of a man who cannot change. The story is divided into two parts; each part focused upon one woman. The story begins in Shanghai during the early 1930’s and follows the loves of Zhen-bao. His early love life abroad is chronicled in the opening scenes. The real story begins as Zhen-pao returns to Shanghai and stays at his friend Wang’s apartment. Zhen-bao meets Wang’s moody, selfish wife Jiao-rui. The two begin a passionate affair. Zhen-bao nicknames her “Red Rose”……. Time passes. In the second half, Zhen-bao is a businessman who woos and marries Yen-li, his “White Rose.” She is from a peasant background and very young. She endeavors to be the perfect wife. More time passes. It is 1943 and Zhen-bao is back to his old ways……… –edited for spoilers from Sandra Berman @allmovieguide.com Continue reading

Stanley Kwan – Yin ji kau aka Rouge (1987)

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Plot Synopsis

Hong Kong filmmaker Stanley Kwan directs this stunning supernatural melodrama about a passion, romance, and lost history. Fleur (Anita Mui) is a 1930s high-class courtesan who finds herself sucked into a doomed relationship with Twelfth Master Chan Chen-Pang (Leslie Cheung), the rakish scion of a prosperous business family that disapproves of their union. After a brief but intense courtship, the two resolve to be together in the afterworld by swallowing opium. Yet once there, Fleur discovers that she is alone. After waiting 50 years for her dearly beloved, she re-emerges in 1987 to place a personal ad. In the process, she enlists the aid of a pair of journalists: Yuen (Alex Man) and his feisty, occasionally jealous girlfriend Ah Chor (Emily Chu). Fleur learns that the Hong Kong she knew has by and large disappeared: the brothel where she worked was now a kindergarten. As she tells them of her love for Twelfth Master, the two journalists begin to find their relationship intensifying. As Fleur’s spirit grows weaker, their search continues until it yields results that are both sad and ironic. — Jonathan Crow @allmovieguide.com Continue reading

Stanley Kwan – Yuen Ling-yuk AKA Centre Stage (1992)

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IMDB:
Chinese History Still Mysterious To Westerners, 19 March 2005
9/10
Author: shinewu from United States

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don’t mean to say anything other than the title chosen. Ms. Ruan is a typical Chinese woman, who believes her innocence would never be questioned, in real life and in the movie. When she finally became a movie star, she kind of lost and still hoped she could stick to an elementary sort of love. The fact is she could never return and no one would stay the same.

The movie did a wonderful job in comparing two different eras. Maggie, the actress who suffered a lot in real life, matched Ms. Ruan’s character very well. The history here seemed too convoluted and trivial, if not meaningless, to many westerners. But as a Chinese, I appreciate every delicate piece in the movie. I still remember the famous saying from one of the greatest Chinese poets — Qu Yuan. Continue reading