Days Of Being Wild

on November 19, 2004 by Tim Cogshell
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1991's "Days of being Wild" was writer/Director Wong Kar-Wai's second feature and marked the early maturation of what would become the director's style. The movie is a heady mix of sex, obsession, alienation and angst. Wai's later films (particularly "In the Mood for Love," which might be considered a sequel to "Days of Being Wild") feature these moody dynamics, and each is shot by cinematographer Christopher Doyle with a similar sense of delirium. It's a wonderful movie, receiving a deserved reissue with "new, fully translated subtitles." Note that the title was chosen because it is the translation of the Hong Kong title for "Rebel without a Cause," a film very much in the mode of Wai's early movies.

Yuddy (the late Leslie Cheung) is a smooth and beautiful playboy who passionately woos women and then withdraws, leaving them devastated in his wake. It's a character trait born of his desire to find his birth mother, a detail that his adoptive mother (a former hooker played with venom by the great Tita Munoz) knows and has refused him for his entire life. They torture each other in the most Oedipal ways.

As the film begins, we watch Yuddy as he has seduces the beautiful but painfully shy Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung of Wai's "Ashes of Times" and the recent "In the Mood for Love"). She falls for him completely and her family disowns her. Then he rejects her. As she yearns for him she cannot see the love a policeman called Tide (Andy Lau of "House of Flying Daggers") feels for her. Yuddy then takes up with a showgirl, Mimi (Carina Lau), and just as abruptly pushes her away to search for his mother in the Philippines; Mimi all but stalks him, rejecting the affections of Yuddy's sincere friend Zeb (Jacky Cheung).

Interestingly, Yuddy has the same affect on the males in his life (including Tide and Zeb) as he does on women. They cannot really know him, yet they cannot abandon him. It's an intriguing nuance. Starring Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Tita Munoz, Carina Lau, Jacky Cheung. Directed and Written by Wong Kar-Wai. Produced by Joseph Chan, Alan Tang and Rover Tang. A Kino release. Drama. Cantonese-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 94 min

Tags: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Tita Munoz, Carina Lau, Jacky Cheung, Wong Kar-Wai, foreign, Chinese, Cantonese, sex, alienation, playboy, relationship, mother, police
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