As Tears Go By
is Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai
's first film, shot in Hong Kong in 1988. It was heavily influenced by Martin Scorsese
's Mean Streets
. Narratively, it is the most conventional of all Wong's films (in fact it is the only linear narrative of his career), but aesthetically it shows a lot of the visual and stylistic features which have become the trademarks of a Wong Kar-wai film. The film was celebrated by critics, and invited for screening at the Critic's Week in Cannes in 1989; however it was not so well received by commercial audiences, failing miserably at the box-office.
As Tears Go By (Wiangjiao Kamen) is the story of two friends, Fly (Jacky Cheung), a young "tough guy" eager to please his older friend and "Big Brother" Wah (Andy Lau) in the gangster underworld of Mongkok. Fly borrows money from Tony (Alex Man) . the protector of an underworld mahjong joint, but, unable to repay the debt, Fly is required to undertake the assasination of an informer in order to neutralise the debt. Meanwhile, according to the code of gangster brotherhood, Wah must remain loyal to and protective of his "little brother" Fly, while Fly must try to prove himself to Wah, and in the final test of loyalty Big Brother dies for Little Brother.
As Tears Go By is also a song which was a hit for both The Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull.