An adaptation from the novel by Lilian Lee, Rouge is part period drama, part ghost story, melding together elements of romance and the supernatural to slowly unveil a moving story about the inevitability of change. Fleur, an alluring courtesan working at a flourishing brothel in 1930s Hong Kong, falls madly in love with the 12th Master, Chan Chen-pang, who comes from a wealthy family. Their torrid, doomed love affair comes to an end when, realizing they can never be together, the two decide to commit suicide by overdosing on opium.
The film travels between flashbacks to the 1930s, and scenes set in present-day 1980s Hong Kong, where Fleur returns as a ghost after spending 50 years in the afterlife waiting for the 12th Master. Believing that he is still alive, Fleur searches for her lover among the strange, unfamiliar streets that used to be her home, and grapples with the realization that both her lover and the Hong Kong she once knew could be long gone.
Rouge stars Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung, two wildly successful Cantopop idols at the time, whose performances in this film established their acting potential. A classic of 1980s Hong Kong cinema, Rouge will forever be remembered for its two stars, and in retrospect its eerily fateful storyline, as both Anita and Leslie ultimately passed away in the same year.
I’ve tried my best to compile a balanced list of Cantonese songs, with both modern and classical Cantopop, and both male and female artists. This is obviously not an extensive list, but rather just an overview of some of the more popular singers. There are still tens of thousands of Cantonese songs out there, but hopefully this list will give you an idea of where to start.
This section is extremely varied, extending from the 1960s to the early 2000s, with a bigger focus on the 80s to late 90s, because a lot of absolute classics that really defined Cantopop were from this time period. I’ve included the “4 Heavenly Kings” (Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok) and tons of other extremely well-known artists like Eason Chan, Leslie Cheung, Alan Tam, and Danny Chan. If you’re studying Cantonese, you should get to know some of the songs I’ve starred!