| Days of Being Wild



Days of Being Wild

Days of Being Wild

A Fei jing juen

Wong Kar-wai

Hong Kong, 1991


Review by Rumsey Taylor

Posted on 21 January 2005

Source Kino DVD

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The title card appears above a slow pan that finds a lush and anonymous tropical forest, one noticeably removed from the film’s central, urban locations. This shot is scored in a simple, playful melody, and up until the unexpected violence that closes the film, the correlation between this opening and the period Hong Kong setting remains unapparent.

There is a sought revelation that drives the film, but to describe Days of Being Wild in terms of its narrative discounts the intimate and patient encounters that distinguish it. Foremost, the film is populated with men and women that aren’t particularly compatible. They share superstitions and hopes; sometimes they connect briefly, and more often end up disappointing or angering one another. Wong films these encounters with delicateness: the characters talk softly to each other in somber, patient dialogues, and flesh occupies the entire frame. (The aforementioned pan excepted, I don’t recall many establishing shots.) The concern is chiefly with these characters, and not particularly where they are and what they do, but how the manage and—more often—fail to relate to each other.

The characters’ experiences result in some rumination from the involved parties, usually concerned with life, its fleeting happiness, or constant disappointment. The film is engaging in that it is predominantly concerned with these sorts of thoughts and not in affirming them.

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