Saw Stanley Kwan's "Rouge." Lovely little film, despite the atrocious subtitles; I especially like it that he uses almost no special effects other than (far as I can tell) a slow fade-out of the ghost in the end, depending mostly on atmospheric camerawork and lighting to tell his tale. The eccentric details about Chinese ghosts is a bit distracting (Is it really taken for granted that they can take their heads off and comb it? And why can't she?), but eventually (from what I could figure out of the plot no thanks to the titles' bad grammar) the love story gets a real hold of you. Maybe the best ghost story I've seen in years, with a delicately bittersweet aftertaste that's unique to this film.

I do feel some ambivalence towards the ending (read no further if you want to see the movie)--she hands her lover his necklace back without a trace of pity. It seems we're allowed to feel sorry for him, but doesn't she? He's suffered too, or does she see it as just punishment? I'd at least have given him a kiss (if I were the girl, I mean) for what he's gone through. But then the ambivalence I feel probably adds to the film's haunting quality--I don't quite agree with what she's done, but neither can I quite forget it.

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