First Asian film NFT sold | Wong Kar-wai's "In The Mood for Love" fetches US$550k in Sotheby's evening sale

An award-winning Chinese director's film footage was his first non-fungible token (NFT) created. It is also the first Asian film NFT to be offered by an international auction house.

Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love NFT, attracted a lot of bids in Sotheby's Modern Art Evening Sale. It was sold at HK$4.28 million (around US$550,000) dollars with buyer’s premium.

He was the first Chinese director to win the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival, with his film, Happy Together (1997). Throughout Wong's career, he consistently challenged Hong Kong's local film scene. 

Sotheby's Hong Kong Modern Art Evening Sale performed much lower than expected, with a total hammer price of HK$485 million (around US$61.7 million) dollars – less than the HK$648 million (US$83.2 million) dollar total estimated price. 

Wong Kar-wai

In The Mood For Love – Day One
Created in 2021 (Filmed in 1999)
Duration: 92 seconds in total

Estimated Price: HK$2,000,000 – 3,000,000
Hammer Price: HK$3,400,000
Sold: HK$4,284,000 (around US$550,000)

Felix Kwok (top right) and Patti Wong (bottom right) 


The NFT auction started at HK$1.6 million dollars. There were two main bidders – Patti Wong, Chiarman of Sotheby's Asia; and Felix Kwok, Sotheby's Director of Modern Art Department in Asia.

After both parties' repeated bidding, the auctioneer dropped the hammer at HK$3.4 million dollars and Wong’s client won. This exceeded the estimated price range of HK$2 to 3 million dollars.

It was sold at HK$4.28 million (around US$550,000) dollars with buyer’s premium.

Film Background

This unseen footage was originally filmed on 13 February 1999. In The Mood For Love was first screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. It won the Grand Technical Prize, with protagonist Tony Leung awarded Best Actor (the first Hong Kong actor to win the award).

“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,” said Wong.

Tony Leung playing Chow Mo-wan in the film, In The Mood For Love (2000). © Image: Jet Tone Films

Maggie Cheung playing Su Li-zhen in the film, In The Mood For Love (2000). © Image: Jet Tone Films

The short film stars Tony Leung (Chow Mo-wan) and Maggie Cheung (Su Li-shen) as iconic lovers.

In 1962 Hong Kong, Chow Mo-wan, a journalist, and Su Li-shen, a secretary at a shipping company, rent neighbouring apartment rooms. Each has a spouse who works and often leaves them alone on overtime shifts. The two protagonists are often alone in their rooms due to the friendly presence of the Shanghainese landlady, Mrs. Suen, and their neighbours. Amicable at first, they develop feelings for each other, as they realise their spouses have an affair together.

Auction Details:

Auction House: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Sale: Modern Art Evening Sale

Date: 9 October 2021