It’s a good time to be a Wong Kar Wai fan.
Last year saw the virtual cinema release of an ambitious restoration project (seven of the Hong Kong director’s ten movies), timed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of In the Mood for Love. That same bundle of films was packaged as a special Criterion Blu-Ray collector’s set this spring. And this summer, we got the first footage from Wong’s upcoming Blossoms Shanghai project, a TV series he’s calling “the third part of In the Mood for Love and 2046.”
But there’s even more in this marathon of Wong Kar Wai content. Sotheby’s UK just announced that on Oct. 9, they’ll auction off a brand-new Wong short film as an NFT.**
Well, kind of brand-new … Wong fans will know that production on In the Mood for Love was a long and ever-unfolding process. The movie—and its characters, plot, tone and scope—shapeshifted during the 15-month shoot. So the final version of the classic is a wholly different movie from the one that was planned on day one.
And that’s what makes this new short film so special. Titled In the Mood for Love — Day One, it’s assembled from footage from the first day of shooting only. So stars Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung will embody entirely different characters from the eventual iconic lovers they play in the film’s final cut. As Sotheby’s puts it, the short is sure to “celebrate the wondrous moment when a creative idea is first conceived.” (And it’s also notable as the first Asian film NFT to be sold at an international auction house.)
“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.” —Academy member Wong Kar Wai
The price to own such an inventive piece of cinema? Likely sky-high. You can browse the auction lineup—and start thinking about how much you’d be willing to bid come Oct. 9—on the company’s Wong Kar Wai page.
**A rapid-fire primer for you: NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and purchasing one means you obtain exclusive ownership of a piece of digital content. Just like a piece of art, what happens to it after is completely up to you so … the winner of the auction for In the Mood for Love — Day One could choose to hoard the short for themselves or, if they’re feeling generous, leak it to the world.