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On the bleak 1960s Honk Kong streets, directionless bad boy with an emotionally troubled past, Yuddy (Leslie Cheung), meets and woos a shy ticket counter worker, Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung) who soon falls dangerously in love with him. With Su pressuring him for commitment, Yuddy callously dumps her and takes up with glitzy dancer Mimi (Carina Lau), leaving Su to confide in caring police officer Tide (Andy Lau). As quickly as Yuddy and Mimi's relationship begins, it's over, with Yuddy leaving for the Phillipines when he learns of his biological mother's whereabouts, a secret his adoptive mother has been keeping from him for years. Devastated Mimi turns to Yuddy's neighbour and friend Zeb (Jacky Cheung) whose unrequited love for her only adds to more confusion and heartbreak.

Review by Craig Miller:
A landmark feature for both director Kar Wai Wong and Hong Kong cinema, Days of Being Wild is not your average look at the darker side of life - the pain of loss and the crushing feeling of detachment. Wong's second major feature is a near masterpiece, combining the art of fine filmmaking with a powerful look at a side of life that is confronting, complex and so painfully, painfully real.

Such raw and powerful cinema with wonderfully flawed characters is a rarity and there's just no escaping that sense of emotional angst surrounding all Wang's protagonists - the contempt the self-destructive Yuddy shows for his adoptive mother as he searches for his biological parents, the pain all over Zeb as he faces another rejection from Yuddy's throw-away lover Mimi, and Su and Mimi's painful devotion to Yuddy are all small elements in a bigger picture of pain and incompletion.

Playing with concepts of time and the painfulness of memory, Wong creates a deep-seated longing in his characters that is totally accessible to anyone that has been heartbroken or has felt the pain of love unrequited. You don't just feel for these people, you ache for them.

It's this sense of meaningless and melancholy that can been seen everywhere, from the emptiness they see looking back at them in a mirror to the blank "bedroom" expressions and total sense of nihilism as they search for any sort of meaning.

The setting is perfectly fitting for the broody mood and themes - the sweltering city streets' heat and pelting rain inescapable, the same as the overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness shared by all the major characters - and Wong is masterful here creating this world that ideally mimics their perceived internal torment.

All the Wong regulars are outstanding in their respective roles. It's not surprising Wong goes back to this well tirelessly because these performers are nothing short of spectacular - Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau and the late Leslie Cheung, in particular - and what they bring to the fold is so real and so moving, you can't help but think that the emotion they show is far too real to be just acting.

Days of Being Wild is powerful, bold, innovative, exciting filmmaking; treasure it.

Published August 11, 2005

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(Hong Kong, 1991)

NARRATION: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Rebecca Pan, Jacky Cheung, Danilo Antunes, Hung Mei-Mei

DIRECTOR: Kar Wai Wong

SCRIPT: Kar Wai Wong

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9 enhanced anamorphic, Dolby Digital 5.1



DVD RELEASE: August 17, 2005

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