Days of Being Wild (1990)

Days of Being Wild (1990)
Running Time: 94 minutes

Photo Credit: Rim
Photo Credit: Rim

Directed by: Wong Kar Wai
Starring: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau

Set in the 1960s, the film follows our protagonist, Yuddy (L. Cheung), who learns from the woman who has raised him that she is not his birth mother. The revelation caused Yuddy to go through a range of conflicting emotions during which he has courted two women. One a quiet girl who works at the cashier of a sports arena, Su Lizhen (M. Cheung), while the other, Mimi (C. Lau), a cabaret dancer.  Heartbroken, Su confides her emotions and frustrations to a cop, Tide (A. Lau). On the other hand, Zeb (J. Cheung), Yuddy’s friend finds himself attracted to Mimi. In search of his birth mother, Yuddy heads out to Philippines.

There is something about this film that really gets the attention of the audience that I couldn’t quite pinpoint my finger on. It could be the colours (the film was filled with hues of blue and yellow), it could also be the setting (the backdrop always seemed gritty), or it could be the characters or the storyline. What I particularly like is the various emotions and situations that the characters face which the film seem to revolve – sadness, alienation and aimlessness. Furthermore, in every scene or segment, it focused mainly on two characters only, usually a male and female, and the other beauty of the film is the focus on the mundane day-to-day life of the characters.

Photo Credit: Rim
Photo Credit: Rim

Leslie Cheung carried the film effortlessly as his character gradually self-destruct, and I was also impressed by Carina Lau’s (at times) over-the-top reactions as she transitions from an insecure, childish woman who fell in love to being heartbroken. I would have wished that Maggie Cheung have more screen time, I was most attracted to her character, but I guess I would have to watch In the Mood for Love and 2046.

Moreover, the cinematography, though not perfect, created the mood of the characters and the scenes well. There were always close-ups of the protagonists and the blurred image of the secondary character in the scene which seemed that the camera almost always focused on the back of the character. Overall, this film is definitely an everlasting classic Hong Kong film and/or Wong Kar Wai’s creation. The simplicity and realism of the story really drew me toward the film, and made me hope that there would be more Hong Kong films made today that would be like this and pull it off. If you like a film that centers around flawed characters or antiheroes, do give this film a try.

Rating: 7 out of 10


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