Days of Being Wild

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Days of Being Wild
Film poster for Days of Being Wild
Traditional 阿飛正傳
Simplified 阿飞正传
Mandarin Ā Fēi Zhèng Zhuàn
Cantonese Aa3 Fei1 zing3zyun6
Directed by Wong Kar-wai
Produced by Alan Tang
Written by Wong Kar-wai
Starring Leslie Cheung
Andy Lau
Maggie Cheung
Carina Lau
Jacky Cheung
Cinematography Christopher Doyle
Edited by Kit-Wai Kai
Patrick Tam
Distributed by Rim
Release dates
  • 15 December 1990 (1990-12-15)
Running time
94 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Box office $146,310 (Worldwide)[1]

Days of Being Wild (Chinese: 阿飛正傳) is a 1990 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, Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau, Jacky Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai. Days of Being Wild also marks the first collaboration between Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with whom he has since made six more films.[2][3]

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).[3]

Plot details[edit]

The movie is set in Hong Kong and the Philippines in 1960. Yuddy[citation needed], or 'York' in English (Leslie Cheung), is a playboy in Hong Kong and is well known for stealing girls' hearts and breaking them. His first victim is Li Zhen (Maggie Cheung) who suffered emotional and mental depression as a result of Yuddy's[citation needed] wayward attitude. Li Zhen eventually seeks much-needed solace from a sympathetic policeman named Tide (Andy Lau). Their near-romance is often hinted at but never materialises.

York has forgotten his fling with the unassuming and shy Li Zhen and has set his attentions to a vivacious cabaret dancer whose stage name is Mimi (Carina Lau). Mimi is also secretly loved by York's best friend, Zeb (Jacky Cheung). Unsurprisingly, York dumps her too and she 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, and In the Mood for Love belong to the same school of Hong Kong cinema.

Cast and roles[edit]


  • Los Indios Tabajaras, "Always In My Heart"
  • 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[edit]

Days of Being Wild grossed HK $9,751,942 in its Hong Kong run,[4] 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 (The 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[edit]

  • 2005 Hong Kong Film Awards
    • Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures (#3)
    • Top 100 Favorite movies of Chinese Cinema (#2)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Days Of Being Wild". Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Kevin Crust (7 January 2005). "'Days of Being Wild'". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ a b "What cinema's movers and shakers say about Wong Kar-Wai I may never come back from Shanghai?". The Daily Telegraph (UK). 31 Dec 2004. 
  4. ^ "Days of being wild". Hong Kong Film Archive. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 

External links[edit]