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In his first hypnotic backward glance at Hong Kong in 1960, Wong Kar Wai creates a post-modern La Ronde set in a fluorescent labyrinth of cool desperation and unfulfilled need. Against the echoing rhythms of period rumbas, Days of Being Wild tracks a half dozen characters through their individual searches for intimate connection. Collaborating for the first time with cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Wong Kar Wai's restless visual imagination decorates this dreamlike fable with characteristic muted extravagance. Days of Being Wild offers an intoxicating cocktail of lush nostalgia and bitter alienation equaled only by Wong Kar Wai's subsequent films.
Star crossed Asian film icon Leslie Cheung (Farewell My Concubine, Happy Together) plays Luddy, a devastatingly handsome Hong Kong lothario who seduces and forsakes women without compunction. Abandoned at birth, Luddy's self-destructive search for love is really a Quixotic quest for a feeling of permanence and a sense of identity. When Luddy beguiles lovely shop girl Su Lizen, he unknowingly sets in motion a sequence of broken hearts and unremembered promises that climaxes in naked obsession, inadvertent self-discovery and shocking violence.
In possibly her most engaging performance, Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love, As Tears Go By) invests Su Lizen with ethereal beauty and street level vulnerability. With a supporting cast of Hong Kong cinema notables, including Andy Lau (Fulltime Killer, As Tears Go By) as Su's policeman confessor, and frequent Wong collaborator Tony Leung (In the Mood for Love, Happy Together), Days of Being Wild's visionary audacity and deep romantic conviction sustains and rewards multiple viewings.
"An atmospheric reverie...Hiroshima Mon Amour
mixed with The Big Sleep." - Caryn James, The New York Times
"A rapturous film about cool men, hot women and the thousand and one nights and cigarettes they share." - Manohla Dargis. The New York Times
Every shot is perfectly composed and compelling, with light and shadow manipulated to maximum effect. - San Francisco Chronicle
"Arguably this is the key movie in Wong's oeuvre, as startling in its context as Hiroshima Mon Amour and Breathless were in theirs". - The Village Voice
Wong is a born cinema virtuoso who can elicit genuine emotions while expressing them amid an atmosphere of the most sweeping romanticism. - The Los Angeles Times