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Days of Being Wild: Early Wong Kar-wai and the Hong Kong Protests

Days of Being Wild: Early Wong Kar-wai and the Hong Kong Protests

Just when the news from Occupy Central, the student-led protest movement in Hong Kong, was beginning to fade from the headlines, the conflict between pro-democracy demonstrators and police is heating up again, according to news reports. While it may be facile to compare the political unrest to 25-year-old art-films, the early films of Wong Kar-wai are rooted, arguably, in the kind of disaffection, anomie and frustration that has sparked the current unrest in China’s “administrative region.” At least, this is the argument I make in this Keyframe story: “Days of Being Wild.” 

Here is an excerpt:

“To return to Wong’s first films, ‘As Tears Go By’ (1988) and ‘Days of Being Wild’ (1990), today is to see portraits of paralyzed twentysomethings, existing in a limbo state of inertia and impermanence—which seems antithetical to the spirit of protest and rebellion of Hong Kong’s current historical moment. And while Tiananmen Square occurred while Wong was making and releasing his first and second features, the movies act more as ominous harbingers of what followed the ’89 Democracy Movement—protestors were killed and arrested, civil liberties were quashed and pessimism sunk in.”

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