Monday, 9 March 2009

Days Of Being Wild (阿飛正傳)

WKW second movie, Days Of Being Wild (阿飛正傳) (1991), departed from his debut totally in terms of visual style and story telling, which would eventually become his trademark, also due to Christopher Doyle's increasingly experimental take on coloration and scene setting which translated into a deliciously great visual movie. About a smooth talking, serial womaniser and rich, "devil may care" delinquent, Ah Yoke (played by the late Leslie Cheung), this movie marked the beginning of WKW universal theme of memories and its impact on the characters' lives. Ah Yoke is the illegal child of a Filipino aristocrat, who arranged for him to be released to an aging nightclub hostess (Shanghai's songstress/actress Rebecca Pan) at birth plus a monthly income to ensure she would never have to work another day in her life. The hostess refusal to reveal the identity of his biological mother resulted in his destructive behaviour, particularly in relationship with women. One of his victim, So Lai Chan (Maggie Cheung), coped by walking alone in the streets after work, after failing to convince Yoke to accept her back. This act also segued into the introduction of a cop (Andy Lau), who fell in love with her after allowing her to accompany him on his nightly beats. Carina Lau played a cabaret dancer, Lulu/Mimi (depending who is asking) who was Ah Yoke's last fling prior to leaving for the Philipines to look for his mother. In both situations, Ah Yoke would actively pursue/seduce both women, spouting some of the most memorable "lady killer" lines in the history of HK cinema. After "getting" what he wants, he would proceed to cruelly discard them, often tearing their dignities into pieces. Jacky Cheung appeared as a childhood friend of Ah Yoke, apparently hinted at as a thief/loafer. He is in love with Lulu/Mimi but is rejected by her. One of the most memorable moments is where the cop waited for So Lai Chan to call at the telephone booth whilst "Perfidia" by Xavier Cugat is playing in the background. It is achingly romantic and cool... In the end, the cop, whom has now quit and working as a sailor, met Ah Yoke by chance in a rundown hotel in Philipine. Interestingly enough, both tried to hint to one another about knowing So Lai Chan but never in an open manner. The ex-cop also rebuffed Ah Yoke's lady killer line, asking him to "grow up", agitating him quite abit. Prior to Ah Yoke's demise as a result of a gunshot in the train, the ex-cop asked him which women would he remembered/loved most (Ah Yoke always say that he wouldn't know who he loves most till the final moment), he did not answer but the audience was given a hint that it would be her. Then, came the infamous 5 minutes appearance of an unknown character (Tony Leung), who seemed to be a hustler/gambler in a low ceiling room. WKW originally wanted to make a sequel but it did not come to fruition due to the commercial failure of this movie. Interesting enough, when I first saw this movie, the opening sequence showed the cop walking in slo mo mumbling something about "not expecting to see her there" in a melancholic manner. Subsequent version open straight to Ah Yoke proceeding to seduce So Lai Chan. Apart from "Perfidia", another song include the classic "何去何從之阿飛正傳" covered by the late 80s Canto pop queen, Anita Mui.

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