The Last Scene of Days of Being Wild (1990), Wong Kar-Wai
Patrick Tam - WKW’s mentor and the editor of the film - says that originally the Tony Leung’s scene was to play like a trailer announcing Tony as the star of the next episode. As it stands now, the scene is an integral part of the film, which was Tam’s idea. He explains:
"Structurally, it changes the film. The scene is unrelated to all that has happened before and it seems that all the characters were really preparing the stage for Tony Leung to appear. They were like a prologue. This is a very daring touch, and I must say, I draw a lot of satisfaction from it. I synched the whole sequence to the music of Xavier Cugat, and it worked perfectly. Wong liked it, and left it like that."
Tony Leung’s appearance may not be quite the final epiphany of the film, but it matches the inherent mood and Ah Fei syndrome - the syndrome of the self-absorbed, lone individual, charismatic with brilliantined hair and beautiful face, recalling the handsome young men who appear as elusive figures of memory in (Manuel) Puig’s novels (usually in the minds of women); or he could be Yuddy’s doppelgänger in a lost detective mystery by (Jorge Luis) Borges. Whatever, his presence in Days of Being Wild is scintillating, a beacon shining in an almost mythical light. Tony Leung himself believes that this is his greatest performance, and there are many who concur.
Leung appears on screen for all of the three minutes and did everything he needed to do to make his performance great, acting with his face and his body, sitting down, getting up, putting things in his pocket, combing his hair, flicking a cigarette, walking off. I would say, however, that the greatness possibly stems from the potential that this character generates, a potential that can never be fulfilled, and that what we have now, what we do see, must be treasured for ever. Episode Two of Days of Being Wild is one of the world’s great lost movies, and herein lies the heartbreak that is permanently etched on this final scene.
- Stephen Teo, Wong Kar-Wai (2005)