Paul Malikkal


Days of Being Wild (1990)

Paul Malikkal

“From now on, we're friends for one minute. This is a fact, you can't deny. It's done.”

Digressive to a fault for me, as all the narrative detours-- Maggie Cheung’s flirtation with the cop, York’s buddy’s infatuation with Carina Lau, York’s search for his biological mother--feel rather disposable and don’t add up to anything cumulatively.

It did, however, almost work for me as a character study largely thanks to Leslie Cheung. He captures the polarities of York/ Yuddy’s character- aloofness and yearning, charm and predatoriness- perfectly in precise gestures (pulling down the blinds to watch Maggie Cheung leave after a tryst simultaneously suggesting that he’s done this a thousand times before and that he’ll genuinely miss her) and subtle facial expressions (the look of sheer distress that comes over his face when Lulu proposes that he be dependent on her speaks volumes).

And as always, I’m impressed by Wong’s ability to ingrain a repeated image into the viewer’s mind, such that it progressively gains more meaning each time it’s repeated. We get three hand-held tracking shots of York from behind in the first five minutes alone. And by the end of the film, as York walks away from his biological mother’s home sporting a veneer of apathy, his pathology becomes crystal clear. Walking away from the camera is the perfect visual metaphor for York’s personal life- constantly fleeing to avoid attachment like a “bird without legs”.

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