Sunday, October 12, 2008

DAYS OF BEING WILD (Wong Kar-wai, 1991, Hong Kong)


Yuddy is young, reckless and wild, searching for answers to quell the anger that rages deep within him: but he’s burning the candle at both ends. Wong Kar-wai examines the subterranean depths of human despair, rejection, and angst; his beautiful superficial imagery contrasts the ugly darkness within.

Yuddy’s past has tainted his essence and he embarks upon a journey of discovery that ultimately leads to self-destruction. He deceives the women in his life like his mother, who abandoned him to her prostitute sister, betraying him. The camera’s lens is focused mainly upon Yuddy but other peripheral characters float in and out of the narrative.

The film’s structure relies intrinsically on the strong cinematography and acting to convey meaning and not upon a conventional story: it meanders about like a lover’s quarrel, lazy days in bed, or the soft chatter of rain on a tin roof. DAYS OF BEING WILD is not about what happens to the characters but concerns its psychological impact upon them. The power is in making the audience feel and self-reflect upon their own relationships, longings, and desires.

Wong Kar-wai also makes time stand still or a minute stretch to an eternity, this fourth dimension a ghostly adversary as their lives tick away towards some uncertain future. He films in a soft palette of greenish hues that slowly fade into murk with a heavy grain that places these characters in retrospect, as if we are watching an old memory projected upon our own consciousness. The final scene shows an unnamed character that could be Chow Mo-Wan two years before IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Is Chow the doppelganger of this protagonist, his own past mirrored in Yuddy’s dying stare?

FINAL GRADE: (B)

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