Red Rose, White Rose
(Hong meigui, bai meigui)
by Stanley Kwan
Hong Kong, China
Director: Stanley Kwan
Script: Edward Lam, Liu Heng adapted from Eileen Chang's novel
Cinematographer: Christopher Doyle
Editing: Brian Schwegmann
Art Directors: Pan Lai
Music: Johnny Chen
Cast: Joan Chen, Winston Chao, Veronica Yip, Zhao Chang, Shi Ge, Shen Tong-hua
Production: Hoi Wong
Distribution: Trigon Films
35 mm, Colour, 110 min,
OV Mandarin, Shangainese with French Subtitles
Chen bao loses his virginity while he is a student in Europe. From then onwards, he meets very few women and only have superficial relationships. Only two women will really count in his life. Once back to Shanghai, he meets Jiao Rui, his best friend's wife. He falls in love with her and calls her his 'red rose'. But he is scared by the unbridled passion and the mad love they feel for each other. He leaves her and soon after marries En Li, a dull docile young woman whom he calls his 'white rose'. He only feels despise for her.
What kind of emotions could one feel when subjected to the sheer duty of respectability and professional career? When his need of tenderness becomes too urging, he sees prostitutes, between lunch and professional meetings. These two women represent the two poles of his sentimental world. Finally, he will never be able to fill the gap left by his 'red rose'.
Stanley Kwan has approached with irony the personality of this eccentric man. His collaboration with Christopher Doyle gives the narrationa suggestive style vibrant with emotion.