Days of Being Wild, The (Hong Kong; 94 min.)

directed by: Wong Kar Wai
starring: Leslie Cheung; Maggie Cheung; Andy Lau
A Fei jing juen

Bruce says: "While for some time THE DAYS OF BEING WILD has been available for viewing at home in the room of your choice, it has never before had a theatrical release in the United States. Made in 1991, it is the second of Wong Kar-Wai’s films. For anyone who has been spellbound by IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, CHUNKING EXPRESS, FALLEN ANGELS, or HAPPY TOGETHER seeing this film is a must. It is with DAYS OF BEING WILD that Christopher Doyle began his relationship with Wong Kar-Wai. Christopher Doyle is also the cinematographer for this year’s Zhang Yimou film, HERO.

"In THE DAYS OF BEING WILD Leslie Cheung is Yuddy, a self-centered young man who was raised by a woman (Rebecca Pan) who is a high-level prostitute whose career is winding down. She sees her future filled with diminishing choices and opts to move to the US with a man who is willing to keep her. Yuddy is abusive towards Rebecca and to retaliate she tells him she is not his real mother. Yuddy becomes obsessed with finding the woman who brought him into the world then abandoned him.

"The film opens with Yuddy hustling a young girl Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung) working at a concession stand. It perfectly obvious that Yuddy’s done this before; his come-on is smooth and convincing. Soon Lizhen is in his bed. Shortly thereafter she is head over heels in love, but Yuddy has already decided to move on to the next woman, a chorus girl (Carina Lau) who has a lot of spunk and not much class. Su Lizhen does not give up easily and when she interrupts Yuddy with Leung Fung-Ying we quickly learn that chorus girls have a vastly different vocabulary and demeanor than girls who work in concession booths.

"Time is difficult to measure in THE DAYS OF BEING WILD. What we learn later in the film is that Su Lizhen has struck up a relationship with Tide (Andy Lau), a policeman on the beat near where Yuddy lives, as she comes and goes form Yuddy’s apartment. As the characters come and go, it is easier to relax knowing that it is not necessary to connect all the dots in a Wong Kar-Wai film. The atmosphere is as important, if not more so, than plot details. As Yuddy goes to the Philippines, many viewers will undoubtedly be dismayed as the film drifts considerably from its core to an existential plane.

"The cinematography is stunning and the characters are strong which is amazing in light of the faint narrative structure. The acting is uniformly first-rate. Wong Kar-Wai is meticulous in the way he stages his scenes and his efforts elevate moment after moment from the mundane to the sublime. This is a film I plan to see again. I’m sure I will find additional moments equal to the ones I already savor. 5 cats"

Chris says: "Wong Kar-Wai's second feature feels like an obvious predecessor to his seventh feature (and masterpiece), IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Set roughly in the same time and place, it's a moody paean to its charismatic, smoldering star Leslie Cheung. The plot, which revolves around the various women he beds and him finding out that the prostitute he was raised by really isn't his mother, is secondary. The film is more an evocation of an era, an attitude, a dreamlike world that may have never actually existed, yet it feels so real--some may accuse Wong of fetishism towards his actors and their surroundings, but rarely has a film's style (particularly one this agile and sensuous) provided so much substance. 4.5 cats