Days of Being Wild 阿飞正传(1990)
Directed by Wong Kar-wai
Days of Being Wild (A Fei jingjyuhn) is a 1990 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film stars some of the best-known actors and actresses in Hong Kong, including Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Jacky Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai. Days of Being Wild also marks the first collaboration between Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with whom he has since made eight films.
The movie forms the first part of an informal trilogy, together with In the Mood for Love (released in 2000) and 2046 (released in 2004).
The movie is set in Hong Kong and the Philippines in 1960. Yuddy, or 'York' in English (Leslie Cheung), is a playboy in Hong Kong and is well known for stealing girls' hearts and breaking them. His first victim is Li Zhen (Maggie Cheung) who suffered emotional and mental depression as a result of Yuddy's wayward attitude. Li Zhen eventually seeks much-needed solace from a sympathetic policeman named Tide (Andy Lau). Their near-romance is often hinted at but never materialises.
York has forgotten his fling with the unassuming and shy Li Zhen and has set his attentions to a vivacious cabaret dancer whose stage name is Mimi (Carina Lau). Mimi is also secretly loved by York's best friend, Zeb (Jacky Cheung). Unsurprisingly, York dumps her too and she begins a period of self-destruction. It later becomes evident that York's inability to commit and his instinct for romantic cruelty derives from conflicting feelings about his adoptive mother who is a former prostitute, played by Rebecca Pan; and his biological mother, a Filipino aristocrat.
Most sections of the film attempt to narrate how people react to rejection, although it was very vaguely depicted. This film was seen to be among the first of its genre popularised by Wong Kar-wai, it does not rely on a plot but more on the individual strengths of its many actors and actresses to narrate the story through their seemingly mundane day-to-day activities.
Days of Being Wild broke away from the light fare that typified Hong Kong cinema at the time by introducing thematic ambiguity and an arthouse aesthetic. Many other Hong Kong films such as Ashes of Time, Temptress Moon, and In the Mood for Love belong to the same school of Hong Kong cinema.