The NFT train keeps on rolling. Hong Kong’s premier director Wong Kar Wai throws his hat into the ring in collaboration with auction house Sotheby’s, unveiling the first Asian film NFT. It’s a minute-and-a-half long short film that includes some never-before-seen footage from his landmark film, In the Mood for Love.
The star of the lot, which will be offered in Sotheby’s Modern Art Evening Sale on October 9, is titled “In the Mood for Love – Day One”. As its name suggests, it contains edited footage from the first production day of a film that captured the hearts and minds of cinema-goers across the world.
You’ll get to see a little more of stars Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung – who became the first actor from Hong Kong to win Best Actor for In the Mood for Love at Cannes – both playing completely different characters than what eventually ended up in the reel.
It’s more than a bit of nostalgic trivia. It illustrates the vagaries of the creative process from the eyes of an acclaimed director, while simultaneously marking the beginning of what eventually became a pivotal film in Asian cinema.
Wong says in a press statement: “Where did the first thought of In the Mood for Love originate from? Hard to say. What’s certain is that February 13, 1999, was the first day when I put that thought into action.”
He continues, “The first day of every film production is like the first date with your dream lover, filled with fright and delight, like skating on thin ice. An arrow never returns to its bow. Twenty years on, this arrow is still soaring.”
Along with the NFT, he’ll be putting up 30 collectibles for auction in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his production company, Jet Tone Films. This includes the leather jacket worn by lead actor Leslie Cheung in Happy Together (1997). The tome helped Wong to win Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Chinese film director to achieve that.
The jacket has been preserved in Jet Tone’s archives since the release of the film half a century ago, and remains in excellent condition. Other collectibles include props, costumes, photographs and box sets, each with a certificate signed by the director – making the sale a love letter of sorts to his years in the business.
This sale comes just weeks after Leung’s debut in Tinseltown as the villain in a Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The once-esoteric world of Hong Kong cinema and all the talent it offers are increasingly entering the mainstream in a big way. It’s only natural that the hottest (though recently less so) trend in the world of art is following suit.