Revered film director Wong Kar Wai is the latest A-lister to join the NFT bandwagon. In an unprecedented collaboration with auction house Sotheby’s, Wong is offering never-before-seen footage from his sublime masterpiece In the Mood for Love, alongside selected memorabilia including a yellow leather jacket worn by Leslie Cheung, which will be amongst the highlights of an upcoming four-day auction preview at cultural-retail landmark K11 MUSEA.
TEXT: CoBo Editorial
IMAGES: Courtesy of Sotheby’s
The world’s favourite Asian auteur Wong Kar Wai is joining forces with Sotheby’s this autumn auction season, offering unseen footage from his 2000 cult classic, In the Mood For Love, in the form of an NFT. This will be the first Asian film NFT offered in an international auction house. It will also be included in Sotheby’s forthcoming Modern Art Evening Sale on 9 October in Hong Kong, alongside a selection of memorabilia from his films.
In a rather metaphor-laden statement, the director talked about the unprecedented collaboration, “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; twenty years on, this arrow is still soaring. Today, we are able to eternalise this first day in a brand-new form. In the world of blockchain, this arrow can chart a new course. Here’s to more of us that will live and chase that first spark in every flash.”
Titled “In the Mood for Love – Day One”, this NFT short film is an edited footage from the first day of production of this modern classic. For the first time, fans can catch a glimpse of Chow Mo-wan (played by Shang-Chi star Tony Leung) and Su Li-zhen (played by Maggie Cheung) as completely different characters from the star-crossed lovers they were in the original film. The never-before-seen footage by a globally renowned Asian filmmaker such as Wong hits exactly the right note for Asian film’s first NFT at an international auction house.
Another highly coveted item from the Modern Art Evening Sale is “Heartbreak Tango–Yellow Jacket”—the leather jacket worn by leading actor Leslie Cheung in the 1997 film Happy Together. “I have always kept this yellow jacket,” says Wong, “because it symbolises a memorable presence: tenderness, rebellion and solitude.” Happy Together, which also starred Tony Leung, follows the heart-breaking love story of a male couple living in Argentina. Shot in Christopher Doyle’s signature lush, colour-saturated cinematography, the film is one of Wong’s most successful endeavours worldwide, taking home Best Director in the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and making him the first Chinese director to do so. Wong even curated a short teaser paying tribute to Cheung’s memorable look in the film that will soon debut on Sotheby’s social media channels.
The collaboration coincides with the 30th anniversary of Jet Tone Films, Wong’s production company. To celebrate the occasion, a dedicated sale of collectibles from the Jet Tone Archive will take place on 10 October, a day after the Modern Art Evening Sale. The 30 collectibles on offer—all chosen personally by Wong including props, costumes, posters, photographs, and box sets—each comes with a certificate of authentication signed by Wong.
Sotheby’s has once again teamed up with Hong Kong’s harbourside cultural-retail landmark, K11 MUSEA, to showcase Sotheby’s Hong Kong 2021 Autumn Auctions Preview at K11 Art & Cultural Centre from 18 to 21 September. Against the stunning backdrop of Victoria Harbour, the public are invited to view highlights from this monumental collaboration, including the iconic yellow jacket from Happy Together, as well as the collectibles from Jet Tone Archive. The preview will also showcase more than 40 works of modern and contemporary art by Asian and Western masters including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lin Fengmian, Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-Chun, Bernard Buffet, Georges Mathieu, Fernando Zobel, Kazuo Shiraga, George Condo and Yoshitomo Nara, alongside an exciting line up of works by up-and-coming market darlings such as Louis Fratino, Joel Mesler and Avery Singer.
Fashionistas and tastemakers alike will revel in a world of luxury, as selected pieces from the jewellery, watches, sneakers and handbags sales will also be on display. Highlights of this section include a 177.51-carat Harry Winston diamond necklace. Sneakerheads will enjoy the sneak peek of highlights from Sotheby’s first dedicated sneaker sale in Asia, titled “Cult Canvas”, which includes an unreleased sample of the Nike Dunk SB Low “Yellow Lobster” from the Boston-inspired series.