being wild about

Days of Being Wild

For the song by ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, see Source Tags & Codes

Days of Being Wild (Pinyin: Ã Fēi zhèngzhuàn; Jyutping: Aa3 Fei1 zing3zyun6; literally "the true story of Ah Fei") is a 1991 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film stars some of the best-known actors and actresses in Hong Kong, including Leslie Cheung, Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung, and Andy Lau. Tony Leung Chiu Wai also appears in a silent cameo role lasting several minutes in the final shot of the film. Days of Being Wild also marks the first collaboration between Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with whom he has since made eight films.

The movie forms the first part of an informal trilogy, together with In the Mood for Love (released in 2000) and 2046 (released in 2004).

Plot details

The movie is set in Hong Kong and the Philippines in 1960. Yuddy, or 'York' in English (Leslie Cheung), was a playboy in Hong Kong and was well-known for stealing girls' hearts and breaking them as is the usual theme for movies with a dashing and charismatic male lead. His first victim is Li Zhen (Maggie Cheung) who suffered emotional and mental depression as a result of Yuddy's wayward attitude. Li Zhen eventually seeks much-needed solace from a sympathetic cop named Tide (Andy Lau). Their near-romance was often hinted at although it never materialised.

York has forgotten his fling with the unassuming and shy Li Zhen and has set his attentions to a vivacious cabaret dancer played by Carina Lau who was also secretly loved by Zeb (Jacky Cheung). Unsurprisingly, York dumps her too and begins a period of self-destruction. It later becomes evident that York's inability to commit and his instinct for romantic cruelty derives from conflicting feelings about his adoptive mother who is a former prostitute, played by Rebecca Pan; and his biological mother, a Filipino aristocrat.

Most sections of the film attempt to narrate how people react to rejection, although it was very vaguely depicted. This film was seen to be among the first of its genre popularised by Wong Kar-wai, it does not rely on a plot but more on the individual strengths of its many actors and actresses to narrate the story through their seemingly mundane day-to-day activities.

Days of Being Wild broke away from the light fare that typified Hong Kong cinema at the time by introducing thematic ambiguity and an arthouse aesthetic. Many other Hong Kong films such as Ashes of Time, Temptress Moon, and In the Mood for Love belong to the same school of Hong Kong cinema.

Cast and roles


  • Xavier Cugat
  • Leslie Cheung performed the song 何去何從之阿飛正傳 loosely translated as 'Choice' or 'The True Story of Ah Fei' as the film's theme song and is also found in his album Beloved (寵愛).
  • 梅豔芳 (Anita Mui) - 是這樣的 - the Cantonese cover of the theme song and is featured at the end of the film during the credits.

Box Office

Days of Being Wild grossed HK $9,751,942 in its Hong Kong run, a number that would become typical for a Wong Kar Wai film. With the starry cast, this figure was considered a disappointment. Still, the film was successful enough to warrant a parody (Days of Being Dumb, which also featured Tony Leung), and now routinely tops Hong Kong critics' lists of the best local productions.

Awards and nominations

See also

External links

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