Iconic actor-singer Leslie Cheung leads an all-star cast in Wong Kar Wai’s tale of misspent youth and misaligned loves set in 1960s Hong Kong.
Wong Kar-wai floods the screen with beauty and fills the soundtrack with hypnotic rhythms [forging] a filmmaking style of incomparable eroticism.
Multiple storylines intersect, set against a sweltering hot Hong Kong summer, principally involving a shy canteen attendant, Su Lizhen, (Maggie Cheung), a showgirl (Carina Lau) and a cop, Tide (Andy Lau). But it’s Leslie Cheung’s central performance as the boyishly handsome but emotionally scarred Yuddy around whom Wong’s characters orbit.
Following the commercial success of As Tears Go By (1988), Wong Kar-wai embarked on Days of Being Wild, an ambitious period drama originally intended as a film in two parts. Inspired by the fragmented story structure of Latin American novels by authors such as Argentinian Manuel Puig, Wong embraced an approach that privileged character and feeling over linear plot.
William Chang’s art direction, Christopher Doyle’s photography and Wong’s command of his star-studded cast combine to deliver some of Hong Kong cinema’s most iconic set pieces, including the final mysterious frames of Tony Leung Chiu-wai (which apparently foreshadowed a character Wong intended to bring to the fore in the never-made ‘part 2’ he had envisaged.)
– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film
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