Days Of Being Wild (1990)
I never knew Hong Kong only had four people in it in the fifties, but hey that’s cool. Wong Kar-Wai’s Days of Being Wild is basically what would happen if someone let Leslie Cheung loose on Southeast Asia with some money and a car.
I like it. It seems subtler, or maybe just slower than his other films. If that’s possible. Or maybe it just has more green? In any case, it definitely has all the Wong Kar-Wai elements. The camera movement. The haunting music. The hot-as-shit pouty women. The mood sequences—some of the most addictive ever put on screen—built from slow-mo music timed to characters moving through space—or just emotionally destroying each other, in the rain, for what seem to be predestined reasons.
I think there’s a tendency on the part of many film critics to politely ignore Wong Kar-Wai. The reason for this could be simple. In his films, there’s plenty of music, slow-motion footage and something has been lost, or perhaps just not found. But how does one wax analytical about that? Instead, one just says one likes him, but writes about something else.
Some crazy intellectuals have even gone so far as to describe his films as self-indulgent, an ode to themselves, little more than extended music videos. Sure, but can you really remember the last time you saw a music video like this? I’m thinking of the train moving like liquid through the green Philippino jungle, hypnotic music and trademark WKW soliloquy withstanding. And when was the last time someone rounded out a conversation with a guy who’s been shot but is just sort of ignoring it for now (besides Once Upon A Time In The West)? There’s another time when Leslie holds the girl’s hand for the length of a minute. Godard did this in Band of Outsiders when the kids in the café propose to simply not talk for an entire minute, and they, with Godard’s hand on their shoulders, actually go through with it. Let them say what they want, but Wong Kar-Wai is one of the few directors out there who is going through with it.