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Days of Being Wild

original title: A Fei jing juen


  • Alternate Cut
  • Regular Version
Release: Apr 13, 2021 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the Alternate Cut and the Regular Version (both included on Criterion Collection's US Blu-ray).

13 differences, including
* 7x additional footage in the Alternate Cut with a duration of 334 sec (= 5:34 min)
* 12x additional footage in the regular version with a duration of 324 sec (= 5:24 min).

A few additional template errors with a duration of less than 0.5 sec each were not listed in the report.


Wong Kar-wai's Days of Being Wild, starring Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Tony Leung, is still considered to be among the exceptional director's best works by many fans more than 30 years after it was made. In the U.S., a new restoration of the collector label Criterion Collection is available since March 23, 2021. A green cast is a bit disconcerting at first, but this remaster is a revelation in terms of quality compared to the ancient 2008 Blu-ray from Hong Kong.

So far, the Criterion disc is only available in a box set with six other classics by Wong Kar-wai, restored in 4K for the first time. Furthermore, only of Days of Being Wild is there an additional second film version on board, labeled as "Alternate Cut". An Asian theatrical print was probably rescanned for this, as Chinese and English subtitles are firmly burned into the image here and there are typical signs of wear around reel changes. At the beginning, this version has an additional longer scene to offer, and in the finale, there are again several small cuts and also exclusive alternate footage compared to the worldwide version.

Official statements about the "Alternate Cut" can hardly be found. In the very readable blog entry by David Bordwell, you can read a little bit more about the circumstances. The box office result was sobering and this was probably already indicated by a bad premiere night. The "Alternate Cut" was obviously a short term attempt to boost Hongkong box office results through integrating the big stars Tony Leung and Andy Lau earlier into the plot by adding a prologue. Different perspectives during dialogues in the finale also underline this theory. However, in any home theatrical releases, Kar-wai's original version was probably circulated again. Since there is no clear documentation of what was initially shown specifically in Asian theaters, we have referred to the main version, which is better known worldwide, as the "regular version."

The regular version ultimately remains the preferable choice. Moreover, the deviations are less extensive than in the Redux version of Wong Kar-wai's later film Ashes of Time. Still, the fan gets a few nice twists to the story, which deliberately allows for different interpretations in many places. In any case, it's nice that Criterion belatedly archived the obscure alternative version in comparatively good HD quality.

Runtimes are ordered as follows: Regular version on US Blu-ray / Alternate Cut on US Blu-ray

After the Criterion logo (which appears in both versions), the Regular Version refers to Janus Film and Media Asia.
Not included in cut duration/quantity.

42.5 sec

Alternate Cut longer.
00:21-02:01 / 01:03

After the first credit for In-Gear Film-Production Co. Ltd, the alternate version first has a dreamlike prologue sequence.

First you see Tony Leung's character (nameless player), who in the familiar version doesn't show up until the finale without much explanation. He sits finely dressed in a small room and files his nails - possibly even a clip from the sequence that runs much longer in the finale. In addition, something is commented off-screen by a male voice:
"I saw him one more time. He had just returned from the Philippines. He was much thinner than before. I asked him what happened to him. He replied that he just recovered from his sickness. He didn't want to chat anyway, so I asked him what his sickness was. Afterwards, we didn't see each other any more."

Now a song starts (Jungle Drums, sung by Anita Mui) and Tide (Andy Lau) takes some exhausted steps through dark corridors. In the meantime, a card game is hinted at in a small booth, with Tide sitting in the middle of it, sweating. A man with a snake apparently distracts Tide somewhat; in any case, the montage has a rather "feverish" atmosphere. This location is probably meant to represent a gritty part of Kownloon, though it's not entirely clear how Andy Lau's character Tide fits in here. He is a police officer and later a sailor, so one can only guess how he is involved in the card game with shady characters.
Lastly, Tide retrieves a knife from the holder and continues through the corridors.

+ 100.3 sec (= 1:40 min)

The credits for Producer and Executive Producer, which are identical in themselves, after this are slightly shorter in the alternate version.

4.7 sec

20:20 / 19:29-19:31

Slightly longer master error: the journey through the bedroom starts a little earlier in the Regular Version.

2 sec

40:44 / 39:56-39:59

Probably the next reel change: the cut from Tide (Andy Lau), seen from behind, to Lai-chen in the phone booth is a little shortened.

2.9 sec

60:33 / 59:50-59:52

Next reel change (various damages and glue dots visible): the car a moment longer in the rain and the feet a bit earlier.

2.1 sec

Alternate Cut longer.
71:21-71:31 / 70:40

The Alternate Cut shows here another tracking shot from a golden figure to a clock.
In the Regular Version, the previous shot of Lulu crying insignificantly longer (not illustrated).

Alternate Cut 9.4 sec longer.

71:38 / 70:47-70:49

The follow up shot of the garden is a little longer.

1.3 sec

72:09 / 71:20-72:10

Yuddy goes much longer towards the palms.

49.8 sec

72:14 / 72:15-72:25

Some dialog before the key is passed. May also have just been lost due to the used master.

10.1 sec

Alternate Cut longer / Alternate.
76:27-76:48 / 76:38-76:59

The Regular Version switches to Yuddy here during the (identical running) dialog. The Alternate Cut stays in front with Tide throughout (and thus for several minutes).

No time difference.

Alternate CutRegular Version

Alternate Cut longer / Alternate.
77:18-77:45 / 77:29-77:55

Same scheme.

Alternate Cut 1.1 sec longer.

Alternate CutRegular Version

Alternate Cut longer / Alternate.
78:13-78:34 / 78:23-78:37

Ditto, but this time, the Regular Version also cuts to Tide sipping from his glass. In the Alternate Cut, it takes a bit longer for this to happen until Yuddy then stands up and both versions switch to a closer shot of him.

Alternate Cut 7.3 sec longer

Alternate CutRegular Version

82:17-82:19 / 82:20-82:24

Last reel change, noticeable in the Alternate Cut by a short black screen (not illustrated).
In the Regular Version, the previous shot runs a little longer and as an introduction to the conversation on the train, a lamp is shown very briefly at first.

Regular Version 2.7 sec longer.

The shot afterwards also bumps a bit, another 0.8 sec is lost.

Alternate Cut longer / Alternate.
86:56-88:59 / 87:02-89:36

After a shot from the moving train, the perspective changes again here for a particularly long piece. In the Regular Version, you see Tide for much longer, and only at the end does it switch to the now already dead Yuddy. The focus is thus more clearly on Tide's perspective of the events. In the Alternate Cut, you see Yuddy almost all the time, and only at the end is Tide briefly shown again. In addition, the conversation ends a bit earlier here. The shot of the train is then also alternate.

Note: Here as well as before the conversation, where mostly Tide speaks (first offscreen, then only in the Regular Version also visible onscreen), is slightly shifted on the soundtrack. The Regular Version also features the song "Perfidia" at the end, which continues over the follow-up shot of Lulu, which is identical again.

Regular Version 31.5 sec longer.

Alternate CutRegular Version

[53. jpg]

Alternate Cut longer / Alternate.
89:09-89:41 / 89:46-90:19

After the identical, frontal shot of Lulu, the Regular Version has her going to the landlady, hanging up the dress, and saying that she needs to check with her for someone. So this strongly implies that she is looking for Yuddy. It switches to Lai-chen, who is now working in a ticket store. After some scurrying around, we see a shot of the tracks, which is probably meant to remind us of her previous encounter with Tide there. This is followed by a shot of a clock, which again might indicate her previous meeting with Yuddy.

In the Alternate Cut, Lulu instead goes to a run-down hotel and asks for a room. So here it is not so clear that she is mourning Yuddy. Shots of Lai-chen in the ticket store follow, but they are a bit more detailed at the beginning. Instead, the last two shots of the tracks and the clock are missing here. Instead, you can see something of the soccer game for which she is selling tickets.

Regular Version 0.3 sec longer.

After identical credits, the Alternate Cut bumps at the final insertion. The Regular Version then still has notes from Criterion.
Not included in cut duration/amount.

Regular Version 17 sec longer.

Finally, a little picture comparison. Although the 4K remaster of the Regular Version tends towards the greenish, much more detail can be seen especially in slightly darker scenes.

Alternate CutRegular Version