Saturday, September 24, 2022

Wong Kar-Wai Turns Unseen ‘In the Mood for Love’ Footage Into His First NFT, Now Set for Auction

Wong Kar-Wai has created his first NFT out of never-before-seen footage from his iconic film “In the Mood for Love,” which he will auction off via Sotheby’s in early October.

The minute-and-a-half-long short called “In the Mood for Love – Day One” features unseen shots from the film’s first day of production, Sotheby’s said, hailing the piece as the first Asian film NFT ever offered by an international auction house. It will be sold on Oct. 9 in Hong Kong as part of the company’s Modern Art autumn sale alongside jewelry, watches, Chinese ceramics, paintings and wine.

In a statement about the piece, the director spoke of his first day of shooting “In the Mood for Love” on Feb. 13, 1999.

“The first day of every film production is like the first date with your dream lover — it is filled with fright and delight, like skating on thin ice. An arrow never returns to its bow; 20 years on, this arrow is still soaring,” he said. “Today, we are able to eternalize this first day in a brand-new form. In the world of blockchain, this arrow can chart a new course.”

Wong is currently at work on his long-awaited next film — his first since 2013 — and “Blossoms,” an upcoming TV series. A recent first-look trailer for the latter featured a brooding leading man and slick shots that some fans celebrated while others griped made it look a bit like a luxury menswear ad.

With new work finally in the pipeline, Wong and his production firm Jet Tone Productions continue to explore his past. In April, they released a documentary short with other behind-the-scenes footage and deleted scenes from his various films, including “In the Mood for Love.”

But Sotheby’s said the new NFT will offer something different, depicting “In the Mood” stars Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung “as characters utterly different from the iconic lovers in the original film.”

A muted, 10-second teaser for the piece depicts Leung brooding behind dark sunglasses and the smoke of his cigarette while Cheung says: “Now I know what love’s about. Come to my place tonight.”

Alongside the NFT, the auction house will also offer up a more tangible piece of Wong nostalgia: the leather jacket worn by Leslie Cheung in his 1997 “Happy Together.”

“I have always kept this yellow jacket because it symbolizes a memorable presence: tenderness, rebellion and solitude,” said Wong.

He recalled the first time Cheung donned the item at a fitting in Buenos Aires and the way the pop star checked out his own image in the mirror. Standing behind him, Wong said, he “instantly recognized [in Cheung] the solitude of [his ‘Happy Together’ character] Ho Po-Wing.” Cheung died by suicide at age 46.

To mark its 30th anniversary, Jet Tone will on Oct. 10 auction off 30 other collectibles handpicked by Wong, including props, costumes, posters, photographs and box sets, each with a certificate signed by the director. Over the past year, the company’s online store has released various other commemorative collectibles, including $50 t-shirts and $40 key chains.


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