Friday, May 16, 2014

Ah fei zing zyun (Days of Being Wild) (1990)

Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writers:   Jeffrey Lau, Wong Kar Wai
Cast:       Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Language: Cantonese

Set in 1960, the film centres on Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. This provokes him to look for his real mother even as he goes through fleeting relationships with several women causing emotional pain to them. One cannot say for sure whether his attitude towards women were shaped up even before him learning about his adoption. It could well be the case with him being raised by an ex-prostitute. The way he is leading his life is summed up by the following quote from the film:

"I've heard that there's a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life... that's when it dies. "

By the end of the film when he is close to death he rephrases it by saying that the bird thought it had no legs which indicates that he was conscious about the self destructive path he was taking. 

The film primarily revolves around the love triangle between the characters played by Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung and Andy Lau, who all were the stars of Hong Kong cinema in those days. Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) is smitten by Yuddy (Leslie Cheung) but when she confronts him about moving in with him, he rejects her by saying that he is not the marrying type and cares for only his happiness. She finds solace in the company of a cop who really wants to be a sailor played by Andy Lau. He falls for her based on their brief encounter but she never realizes it and they never meet again. He leaves his job and decides to become a sailor and he has a chance encounter with Yuddy in Philippines. Till that point I thought the film was just a goodish film but the last 15 minutes of the film just elevates it into greatness.

Film marked the first collaboration between Wong Kar Wai and his frequent DoP collaborator Christopher Doyle. But it is not shot in the trademark style of theirs. It was also a pioneering film for Hing Kong film industry by bringing in elements of emotional ambiguity and a new wave arty style. It even provoked a spoof called 'Days of Being Dumb' starring Tony Leung.

Rating: 4.5/5