First Chinese director to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for his movie Happy Together, Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai is celebrating this year the 30th anniversary of his production company Jet Tone Films. To mark this milestone, he has collaborated with Sotheby’s to auction collectibles from his movies during the forthcoming Autumn auctions to be held in Hong Kong on 9 and 10 October.
On this occasion, Wong has produced his first-ever non-fungible token (NFT) creation, In the Mood for Love—Day One, showing never-before-seen footage of the first production day of his internationally acclaimed movie In The Mood For Love. This short NFT film features actors Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung as characters different from the iconic lovers in the original film; and this is a way to celebrate the unique moment when a creative idea is first conceived.
In The Mood for Love – Day One
“All creation originates from a single thought,” Wong said. “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.”
This artwork, whose trailer has just been released, will be the first Asian NFT film to be offered in an international auction house.
The Sotheby’s auction will also include the iconic Heartbreak Tango – Yellow Jacket worn by leading actor Leslie Cheung in Wong Kar-wai’s 1997 film Happy Together, portraying the romance between two men living in Argentina.
Leslie Cheung, Happy Together, Photo by Wing Shya
“Ho Po-Wing [Cheung’s character] clutched his jacket to his chest, like he was warming himself in the cold night of the Argentinian winter. Behind the monitor, the shot looked like a solo tango. That night, his partner was the yellow jacket,” Wong explains. “I have always kept this yellow jacket, because it symbolises a memorable presence: tenderness, rebellion and solitude.”
Designed by William Chang, one of Hong Kong most renowned costume designers, the leather jacket is a manifesto of the irresistible charisma of the most legendary pop icon of his generation. The jacket has been stored in the Jet Tone Archive for twenty-five years and is in excellent condition!
In addition, thirty collectibles from Jet Tone and Wong extensive archive will also be put up for auction. They have all been chosen by Wong himself as a testimony of his creative journey’s milestones. They include props, costumes, posters and photographs, and come with a certificate signed by the director. The collection will serve as a retrospective of Wong’s career to date, with each item representing a symbolic moment in his oeuvre.
“Most of these 30 collectible items have played a role in my films,” he says. “They symbolise the different stages of filmmaking from production to exhibition. This collection features the works of our long-time collaborators William Chang, Christopher Doyle and Wing Shya, along with artwork created by artists from different parts of the world.”
The good news for Wong Kar-wai lovers – whose majority cannot afford the auction sale – is that K11 Group will be the first to publicly showcase the Heartbreak Tango – Yellow Jacket, as well as the thirty collector’s items, in a preview at their Art and Cultural Centre at K11 MUSEA from 18 to 21 September.