Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai is turning never-before-seen footage from his critically acclaimed film In The Mood For Love (2000) into an NFT, up for auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in the modern art evening sale on October 9.
The collaboration between the director and the auction house marks the 30th anniversary of Wong’s production company, Jet Tone Films, and is the filmmaker’s first foray into the world of NFTs. It’s also the first Asian film NFT to be offered by an international auction house and has yet to be tagged with an estimate.
The artwork, titled In the Mood for Love—Day One, features rare footage of the film’s stars, Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, shot on the first day of production.
The two are playing characters that are markedly different from their roles in the completed film, a nod toward the generative nature of the creative process, particularly the moment when an idea is first conceived.
“All creation originates from a single thought,” Wong said in a statement. “Where did the first thought of In the Mood for Love originate from? Hard to say. What’s certain was that February 13, 1999, was the first day when I put that thought into action. 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.”
“Today, we are able to eternalize this first day in a brand-new form,” he added. “In the world of blockchain, this arrow can chart a new course.”
A teaser for the NFT shows Leung smoking a cigarette behind dark sunglasses as Cheung says, “Now I know what love’s about. Come to my place tonight.”
The completed film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the grand technical prize, and Leung won best actor.
The modern-art evening sale will also include a leather jacket worn by Leslie Cheung in Wong’s 1997 film Happy Together.
The day after, on October 10, Sotheby’s will also hold a sale dedicated to the Jet Tone Films archives, featuring 30 collectibles handpicked by Wong, in a mini-retrospective of the filmmaker’s career.
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