Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai has successfully established himself as one of the most recognisable contemporary filmmakers. With masterpieces like Chungking Express and Days of Being Wild under his belt, Wong has reached unprecedented artistic heights and influenced several aspiring directors to experiment with the cinematic medium.
While talking about his magnum opus In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai once said: “We started the film in a different way. At first, we called the film ‘a story about food.’ The story of In the Mood for Love, in fact, is actually one of the stories about these two people, neighbours, who are buying noodles all the time. Later on, I realised that the reason I wanted to make this project is only this story, so I expanded it. It was supposed to be a quick lunch and then it became a big feast.”
He also commented on the increasing popularity of Asian cinema among Western audiences, stating: “We all need stories. What happens in our daily lives changes our stories. You can see the Italian cinema and the French New Wave, in the ’60s, the first generation after the second world war, so they have a lot of things to say and a new perspective.”
Adding, “For these two years, Asian cinema, like Korean cinema, and even Thai cinema, they’ve become very, very strong, because they have their problems and new stories in their life. So they are not repeating the same old stories. I think the young filmmakers, their thinking is more global, so their films are more accessible to the Western audience.”
For the 30th anniversary of In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai has created his first-ever NFT (non-fungible token) featuring unseen footage from the first day of production. It is set to be auctioned by Sotheby’s in October, making it the “first Asian film NFT ever offered by an international auction house.” Along with the NFT, other collectables like props from the production and box sets will be available for purchase.
“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,” Wong said. “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.”