Days Of Being Wild (Hopscotch)

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Wong Kar Wai’s second feature in 1990 was the film that broke him. Days of Being Wild won best director, and best actor at the 1991 Hong Kong Film awards. And it’s easy to understand how, as here he has moved well beyond some of the generic elements of his debut and made a film like no one else. It also marks his first film with Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with whom he continued to work with up until the recent 2046. Set in 1960 it is reminiscent of a certain European style of filmmaking in its depiction of the rootless philandering of Yuddy (Leslie Cheung), his rich alcoholic aunt who takes care of him and the many women in his life. Wong Kar Wai is uniquely adept at creating a world around Yuddy, Lai (Maggie Cheung) the innocent snack bar girl he seduces, Mimi (Carina Lau) the dancer who refuses to let go of him, Jacky Cheung as Yuddy’s hero worshiping best friend and a cop who walks the beat (Andy Lau) who forms a strange relationship with Lai. And aside from these characters no one or nothing else seems to matter. It really is a unique and powerful form of filmmaking, where you are never really sure where it will take you next, with Kar Wai, touching upon certain elements he would explore more fully years later in 2046 and In The Mood For Love. In fact Tony Leung mysteriously and inexplicably appears at the end of this film, which may suggest this is somehow a prequel to those two films. It’s an incredible work, very much about the search for identity, love, pain and letting go. All of the good stuff. It also features one of the best pick up lines you’re likely to see. What’s not to recommend?

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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