(A Fei jing juen)
Directed by Wong Kar-wai. 1991.
Days of Being Wild unfolds like a dream with colour filters, unusual shadows, and the sights and sounds of Hong Kong's rainy nights and sweltering summers. Based on the director's memories from his childhood and admiration for the style of Argentinean novelist Manuel Puig (Heartbreak Tango), the film is a series of episodes involving six people who touch each other's lives. After his short-lived relationship with Su, Yuddy meets a cabaret dancer who calls herself Mimi (Carina Lau) but their relationship fares no better and she is left to suffer the consequences of their breakup. Meanwhile, Su meets Tide (Andy Lau), a gentle policeman whom she is able to confide until he suddenly leaves Hong Kong to become a sailor. Each character seeks a sense of identity and fulfillment. After Rebecca tells him of her plans to move to America with her boyfriend, she finally lets him know that who and where his real mother is. After Yuddy goes to the Philippines to try to find his mother, the lives of the main protagonists come together in a powerful conclusion.
Days of Being Wild
may sound like a soap opera but the film reaches a much higher artistic
level. Supported by outstanding performances by Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung,
and Jacky Cheung as Yuddy's only friend Zeb, it is a tone poem about longing
and one's search for identity. We care about the characters even though
they don't seem to care about themselves. Like many of us, they pine for
the things that might have been, the word that was never said, and the
love that remains elusive. A commercial failure but an artistic triumph,
Days of Being Wild is a moody, atmospheric film that with its background
of popular music, in this case 1950's rumbas and cha-cha's, forecasts the
director's later In the Mood For Love. As a beautifully realized
example of alienated people desperately seeking their place in the world,
however, it stands securely on its own.
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