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Wong Kar Wai’s breakthrough sophomore feature represents the first full flowering of his signature swooning style. The first film in a loosely connected, ongoing cycle that includes In the Mood for Love and 2046, this ravishing existential reverie drifts through the Hong Kong of the 1960s with a band of wayward twenty-somethings—including a disaffected playboy (Leslie Cheung) searching for his birth mother, a lovelorn woman (Maggie Cheung) hopelessly enamored with him, and a policeman (Andy Lau) caught in the middle of their turbulent relationship—who pull together and push apart in a cycle of frustrated desire. The director’s inaugural collaboration with both cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who lends the film its gorgeously gauzy texture, and actor Tony Leung, who appears briefly in a tantalizing teaser for a never-realized sequel, Days of Being Wild is an exhilarating expression of Wong’s trademark themes of time, dislocation, and restless yearning.
This 4K digital restoration was undertaken from the 35mm original camera negative by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata and One Cool. A Janus Films release.
Cantonese, Shanghainese, Tagalog, Mandarin