Multi-hyphenate superstar Leslie Cheung leads an all-star cast in Wong Kar Wai’s tale of youthful rebellion and misaligned loves set in 1960s Hong Kong.
Following the commercial success of As Tears Go By
, Wong Kar Wai embarked on Days of Being Wild
, an ambitious period drama originally intended as a film in two parts, but this never came to fruition. Inspired by the fragmented story structure of Latin American novelists such as Manuel Puig, he embraced an approach that privileged character and feeling over linear plot. The multiple storylines principally involve a shy canteen attendant (Maggie Cheung), a showgirl (Carina Lau) and a cop (Andy Lau). But it’s Leslie Cheung’s central role as the devilishly handsome but emotionally scarred playboy Yuddy who steals almost every frame. William Chang’s art direction, Christopher Doyle’s photography and Wong’s expert command of his large, star-studded cast, deliver some of cinema’s most memorable scenes, such as the final mysterious frames of Tony Leung Chiu-wai. On this, Stephen Teo notes, “The greatness [of this performance] possibly stems from the potential that this character generates.” In the intervening years Days of Being Wild
did influence future films, with Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung’s characters’ names reprised a decade later for In the Mood for Love
and its companion film, 2046
.This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool.