Thursday, August 27, 2015

Days of Being Wild (1990)

Unlike so many other ensemble pieces, Days of Being Wild doesn’t proclaim itself as such from the onset. There’s no rapid montage introducing us to all the various characters we will meet along the way. When we start, we are certain that Leslie and Maggie Cheung’s characters are going to be our protagonists. Yet before you know it, one character is jettisoned for another and it is their film, for a while…

A full year before Slacker, Wong Kar-Wai was already excelling at the type of narrative Richard Linklater would be praised for with that film. It’s a daisy chain structure where one character introduces us to another who in turn introduces us to another. Everything loops back eventually but not in the configurations you were expecting. In the end, you get these weird combinations of characters you never thought would end up together, but that’s life. You never know who is going to enter the picture next or return from the past. You can really tell what an influence this film had on Pulp Fiction.

Apparently this film didn’t do very well upon initial release. From what I gather, there was supposed to be a follow-up film which is hinted at in the final scene. But after the poor box office reception, those plans were scrapped. Yet, rather than make this film feel like some sort of vestigial appendage of a larger creature, the inclusion of that final scene inadvertently solidifies what makes this movie so wonderful. There’s always someone new, waiting in the wings, ready to enter the story of your life. Where will they end up taking you?

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