Originally written in the first-person, Rouge explores the values of women through the heart-breaking romance between Fleur, a prostitute, and her lover, the wealthy playboy Chan Chen-pang. The novel was brought to the big screen by director Stanley Kwan in 1988. Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui are impeccable in the film but the movie hardly scratches the surface of the core values conveyed in Lee’s words. While the novel denies the traditional Chinese view of women being nothing more than bargaining chips when it comes to marriage, Kwan focuses instead on the story’s tragic romance and is unable to make the audience reflect on the patriarchal mindset of our society, which distorts Lee’s hidden messages.
Ratings for interpretation: ★★✩✩✩