Leslie Cheung, das Phantom

Ah fei zing zyun (Days of Being Wild, HK 1990, Wong Kar-Wai)

©Alamode Film

Cheung was born, to cinema, as a fugitive, forever fleeing the frame, merging with the dark, freezing and fading on a striking pose or a sudden, piercing glance. In the pre-title scene of Days of Being Wild (1990), Wong [Kar-Wai] conjures this phantom in ten, sinuous shots. Shots most often linked via odd transitions, tiny ellipses, strange moves in the space. The camera tracks him from behind as he barrels in cockily, turning a corner and besieging a coke freezer. We see him more from the back from the front: sure sign of mystery. He rolls himself lazily into a few shots, always languorously propping himself up, in mid-air somehow, for support. He seems to be floating, or gliding on moving panels, more than simply walking or serenely standing. He surprisingly slips into what we assumed to be his own field of vision; and slips out, just as unexpectedly. Finally, he is only a sound: the footsteps that approach, that recede. Beside him, Maggie Cheung is the figure of solidity: well-lit, well seen, hands in the cash register, stacking the crates. Leslie is the master of the agonising, bewitching dance of possible seduction inaugurated in this scene. He has magic powers; he has already divined her name without her telling him this.


Adrian Martin (2003/2014): Cinephiliac Moments: The Phantom. Auf: Cinea.