Wong Kar-Wai followed up his highly successful directional debut, the brooding and slick As Tears Go By
, with this remarkable study of rootless affections and calculated cruelties played out as an ensemble piece by some of Hong Kong cinema's finest performers. Set during the sweltering weeks of summer in 1960, Days of Being Wild
offers glimpses into the life of Yuddi. A young and disaffected drifter played with hazy, laconic disdain by Leslie Cheung, he toys with the lives and affections of those around him. Maggie Cheung is darting and hesitant as the unaffected bargirl with whom Yuddi begins an affair, while Carina Lau exudes a passionate playfulness in the role of Mimi, the nightclub hostess he eventually settles for. Together with Andy Lau's lonely cop caught up in dreams of being a sailor and Jackie Cheung as the friend forced to live in Yuddi's shadow, they all inhabit a world of and limited desires and recurring disappointments. After travelling to the Philippines in search of the mother who abandoned him at birth, only to be met by her blank refusal to see him, Yuddi sets himself adrift from life with brutal consequences.
The time Won Kar Wai spent writing scripts for TV soap operas is apparent in the narrative's episodic drift, as well as his admiration for such photographers as Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Avedon, can be seen in the sharp attention to surface detail. Stylish and assured, with a soundtrack featuring lush easy listening tunes from the 1950s, Days of Being Wild has the added distinction of bringing together three of Cantopop's top-selling singers, Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau and Tony Cheung. It's this kind of dream-like, pop culture surrealism that has helped put Won Kar Wai in a league all his own. --Ken Hollings
Wong Kar-Wai's follow up to 'As Tears Go By' (1988) marked a turning point in Eastern cinema, straddling both 'art house' and action features. Set in Hong Kong in 1960 during a sweltering summer it follows Yuddi's (Leslie Cheung) search for some meaning in his life. He has affairs with two beautiful women and hangs out with his friends, before leaving for the Philippines in search of his mother.