Days of Being Wild (1990) Analysis – Foundation for Wong Kar Wai’s Love Saga


Days of Being Wild is Wong Kar Wai’s second film and one of the most underrated films of his Filmography. The exploration of love in Kar Wai’s started with Days of Being Wild which laid the foundation for his upcoming Love Trilogy namely Chungking Express, In the Mood for Love and 2046 respectively.

In Kar Wai’s cinematic world, the characters are consistently pursuing a journey “to be loved” as we all are in our lives, wishing to be loved intensely and passionately. Kar wai’s film portrays a persistent theme of time, longing, dislocation, and the restless search for human connection by its characters, like Tony Leung’s character in his Kar Wai’s “In The Mood of Love” insists an extramarital affair because he feels lonely in his own marriage. That’s the state, particularly with all his characters in his films, in short, They are Lonely.

That’s how Days of Being Wild starts, with the main character, Yuddy, who is a young playboy in Hong Kong and is well known for stealing girls’ hearts and breaking them. His first lover in the film is Li-Zhen, who suffers emotional and mental disturbance as a result of Yuddy’s behavior. Yuddy is set out to break another girl’s heart and justifies his nature of being a playboy. The film explores Yuddy’s nature in a way that he had a traumatic Childhood, void of any parental love, as his mother left him in a brothel. Yuddy has been lonely, all his childhood and now he is afraid to be with someone else.

As Yuddy quotes,” I’ve heard that there’s a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life… that’s when it dies.”

Yuddy’s character is like that flightless bird that flies from one form of love to another, indecisively believing that the one he has a hold on will give rest to his wings. It never happens. Or it seems to, but it really doesn’t. The longing for the last lost love makes him question whether the one he let go was actually the one who mattered. The question makes him fly again with a burden of regrets, fear of being lost, and a really indescribable loss of identity, resulting in death, finally. Yuddy’s character is portrayed of Youth Aggressiveness, confusion, regret, and loneliness, which ends in the loss of his own Youth, that’s what the name of the film suggests, days, or a story about the wilderness of youth, which we lost in time.

The second character in the film, a night patrolling officer, Chow played by Tony Leung has very brief screen time, but it instills a long association of Kar Wai with Tony who stars in almost all Kar Wai’s films. Chow is lonely and in need of a companion, he isn’t aggressive like Yuddy, but more of a lonely introvert. This is when Yuddy’s former girlfriend Li meets chow in the street at night, Chow is delighted to accompany her. Chow’s character of a lonely policeman is explored more in Kar Wai’s next film, Chungking Express.

Watching Wong’s films, it sometimes feels as if your heart rate is slowing down. Time is a recurring element in Days of Being Wild, with frequent shots of wall clocks and references to what has happened in the past. For the movie’s characters, time is at once a trap — moving too slowly for their heedless desires — and a curse, as each passing second represents another lost moment of youth.

The movie’s final sequence takes a surprising leap into another time or space, as Chow in a really different avatar dresses up in his apartment, preparing for a night of being wild. Days of Being Wild through these three characters of Chow, Yuddy, and Li-Zhen suggests that the pursuit of love will never end.

Apart from making complex stories, Kar Wai is a genius and maestro in Camera Framing that is why his films are so vibrant and symbolic in their approach. He infuses a sense of his constant theme through music, clothes, and color. Wong Kar Wai’s film is a visual treat to all the cinephiles around the world.

Recommended Wong Kar Wai’s Films – Chungking Express, In The Mood For Love, and 2046 (in the same order).

Days of Being Wild is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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