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Wong Kar-wai to auction NFT of never-before-seen footage of iconic film ‘In the Mood for Love’

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Sep 07, 2021 9:08 pm

Never-before-seen footage of In the Mood for Love by highly acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai is the most recent NFT that will go under the virtual auction hammer.

In recent months, memes, artworks and even the “world wide web” have raked in hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars after being auctioned as NFTs or non-fungible tokens.

These NFTs are a form of unique digital assets that are designed to show that someone owns the particular virtual item like songs, viral memes, artworks, and even GIFs.

Auction house Sotheby’s recently announced its collaboration with Wong Kar-wai for its upcoming Modern Art sale in Hong Kong set on Oct. 9. The collaboration was made in time for the 30th anniversary of Wong’s production company Jet Tone Films. 

The 1-minute 31-second clip, dubbed “In the Mood for Love—Day One,” that will be up for auction is the first ever NFT creation of the award-winning director.

Feb. 13, 1999, the first day of filming of Wong Kar-wai's highly acclaimed film In the Mood for Love. Photo by Jet One Films via Sotheby's

The clip was edited from never-before-seen footage shot on the first production day of Wong Kar-wai’s international masterpiece, In the Mood for Love, which premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim. The film took home the Grand Technical Prize and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung was awarded Best Actor.

The NFT short film contains rare footage starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung as characters utterly different from the iconic lovers in the original film.

“This unique artwork celebrates the critical and wondrous moment when a creative idea is first conceived, while marking the first Asian film NFT ever to be offered in international auction houses,” Sotheby’s said in a statement.

Award-winning actor Tony Leung in the never-before-seen footage from In the Mood for Love. Photo by Jet Tone Films via Sotheby's

On where the first thought of In the Mood for Love came from, Wong said in a statement that it was hard to say.  

“What’s certain was that Feb. 13, 1999 was the first day when I put that thought in 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,” he said.

Wong added, “Today, we are able to eternalize the 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.”

For the past few months, NFTs have been getting the spotlight for massive million-dollar sales of these unique virtual items. 

Recently, the World Wide Web source code NFT was sold for $5.4  million (P271 million) at Sotheby’s, the sale of which will benefit the initiatives of its inventor Tim Berners-Lee and his wife are involved in.

In March, graphic designer Beeple sold an NFT of his digital artwork called Everydays—The First 5000 Days for a record-smashing $69 million (P3.3 billion) at Christie’s auction.

Though NFT sales have been on a roll for the first half of the year, experts revealed that the NFT market appears to be shrinking. 

According to Protos, NFT sales have peaked in the beginning of May at $102 million (P4.9 billion) in sales in North America alone. But towards the end of the month, it dropped to $19.4 million (P938 million).

Check out the 10-second muted clip of “in the Mood for Love—Day One” below.

Banner and thumbnail images by Jet Tone Films via Sotheby’s