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Kino on Video presents
Days of Being Wild (A Fei jing juen) (1991)

"I've heard there's a kind of bird with no legs. All it can do is fly and fly. When it gets tired, it sleeps on the wind. This bird can only land once in its whole life. That's the moment it dies."
- Yuddy (Leslie Cheung)

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: October 18, 2004

Stars: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau
Other Stars: Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung
Director: Wong Kar-Wai

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some language and brief sensuality)
Run Time: 01h:33m:57s
Release Date: October 19, 2004
UPC: 738329038021
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AB-C+ D+

DVD Review

Wong Kar-Wai is a talent the cinematic community at large will become intimately familiar with. He is an auteur in the traditional sense, creating distinctly stylized films that reach cinematic heights far beyond the majority of his blood-drenched Hong Kong counterparts. To date, his films have exhibited two distinct styles: the kinetic, hyperactive worlds of Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, and the engulfing, romantic strains of In the Mood for Love and Days of Being Wild. The latter two are richly detailed period pieces, the effects and messages of which transcend time.

Yuddy (Leslie Cheung) is a young, virile male, confident in his slicked-back hair, sporty car, and abilities with the opposite sex. He approaches an unsuspecting girl, initiates close conversation, and asks her to look at his watch. "I'll always remember that minute because of you. From now on, we're one-minute friends..." he remarks with an unbreakable stare. Su Lizhen (Maggie Cheung, whose character name is identical to her role in In the Mood for Love) is seemingly annoyed by his frequent appearances at first, but before long, his suave antics find their way into her heart, and she falls madly in love. Unfortunately, her fall is more head first than heels. Yuddy is a man who openly objectifies women, treating them as mere objects for his casual amusement. His demeanor shifts without warning, as do his romantic pursuits.

Before long, Su Lizhen is discarded for another. She takes the rejection to heart, yet is unwilling to let Yuddy go. Waiting outside his building for any hint of acceptance, she begins conversing with a lonely police officer (Andy Lau), whose late night sentry duty does not frequently make room for meaningful relationships. At first, his comments are aimed to assuage the grief of the young girl in mourning for her love, but his own feelings begin to grow. He offers his counsel when she needs it, waiting for her to call a phone booth he passes every night on patrol. The phone never rings.

Yuddy's replacement for Su Lizhen is a young dancer whose attitude is far more harsh and abrasive. Yuddy seems to have little compunction for personality. She is the jealous, self-centered type, bitter toward his ex and unwilling to speak to his friends unless they can bring her closer to her beloved. Her early resistance to Yuddy's advances was only procedural; once she falls for him, she aims to possess, though his erratic, patriarchial tendencies wreak havoc with her emotions. He is always in control, further proven by his rocky relationship with his foster mother (Rebecca Pan), who is about to depart for America with a young suitor.

On the surface, Yuddy's controlling, dominating tendencies seem to take a life of their own. Initially, we don't bother to consider their source, but his confrontational relationship with his mother is revelatory. Yuddy is nothing more than a lonely boy whose bitterness toward his birth parents, his adoption, and his foster mother consume him. His actions are attempts to avoid abandonment, but everything he does contributes to a life of solitude, culminating in a last ditch attempt to make peace with his past.

Richard Corliss has proclaimed Wong Kar-Wai to be "the most romantic filmmaker in the world." It’s certainly difficult to argue with this statement. Kar-Wai's films are undeniably sensual, revolving around frequently intertwined love stories. His films are visual feasts, reveling in a combination of lush, subjective imagery and music that creates and enhances mood and emotion, pulling the viewer in. His work is one of chance and detail. Happenstance, a misplaced word, or a simple gesture can lead to drastic changes, intersecting paths, and newfound relationships.

Days of Being Wild perfectly demonstrates the Kar-Wai formula. Performances from the entire cast, including the talented and beautiful Maggie Cheung, elevate the already strong filmmaking. Christopher Doyle's cinematography shows through yet again, though the style here is much more exact, reserved, and smooth, preferring steadicam and dollies to the frenetic handheld world of Fallen Angels. Kar-Wai is himself in love with this time period, which has reappeared in In the Mood for Love and his most recent film, 2046. This is a welcome environment, ever aware of passing time. Capturing a time of adolescence in 1960s Hong Kong, Kar-Wai's world is a breath of fresh air.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Kino's anamorphic image is disappointing. Detail is relatively soft throughout, but the most distracting aspect is a healthy dose of print damage—white specks and flecks are noticeable. Colors are well saturated, albeit dark, and the image does not have any digital overenhancement issues, but this film could use a good cleanup.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Cantoneseno


Audio Transfer Review: The Cantonese Dolby 2.0 stereo track is bright, but exhibits occassional pops and crackles. The music has some nice dynamic range. Overall, this is serviceable audio.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring As Tears Go By, Fallen Angels, Happy Together
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Stills Gallery
  2. Kino on Video catalog
Extras Review: Extras are sparse. Aside from the trailers listed above, the disc sports a cast and crew filmography and a brief stills gallery. There is also an insert advertising other Kino titles. This is one of five new Kar-Wai releases from Kino available individually, or in their Wong Kar-Wai Collection box set.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

Wong Kar-Wai's first foray into the romantic world of 1960s Hong Kong is among his best work, showcasing strong performances, themes, and hypnotic visuals. Kino's effort is passable, but could be better.

 


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