Director: Stanley Kwan
Year Released: 1987
In Hong Kong circa the 1930's, Twelfth Master Chan (Leslie Cheung) - whose parents own several dried goods shops - becomes infatuated with courtesan Fleur (Anita Mui) and he wants to marry her but his family objects and so they form a Romeo and Juliet pact and ingest raw opium (and sleeping pills); fifty years later, the ghost of Fleur returns to the Fragrant Harbor to purchase an ad in the newspaper looking for her former lover, and she gets assistance from a couple who work there, Yuen-Ting (Alex Man) and Ah Chor (Emily Chu). While I (almost) always appreciate directors trying to take a peek into the 'spiritual world' - and since much of this takes place at night, it has a haunted feel to it - it still can't shake its foundation as a soap opera-type story with a few too many embellishments (and some horrid 80's synth drivel for the soundtrack). There are most likely various cultural elements in here that I'm not picking up on, but I have no doubt Kwan is very familiar with the "women's pictures" produced by Hollywood, especially those by Cukor and Sirk. Both leads are good together and the fact that they died alarmingly young (Cheung at 46 via suicide, Mui at 40 from cancer) makes it - and its downbeat ending - even more eerie.