As cinema has grown over the past century, and especially across the last two decades, we have seen the mainstream attain a more and more avant-garde bend. Quite possibly one of the most “out there” films to grace cinemas at large recently was the absurdist action romp Everything Everywhere All At Once. And, through distributor A24, fans of the truly unique cinematic experience got the chance to own a piece of it as a selection of its props and costumes went up for auction at the start of the month.
For those that may have missed it, Everything Everywhere All At Once is the multiverse-spanning, genre-blending sensation that was on every film fan’s lips in 2022. Beginning in the mundane storytelling confines of a woman, Evelyn Quan Wang (Michelle Yeoh), trying to pull herself together to complete her taxes as her marriage to Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan) and her relationship with her daughter Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu) each begins to fail. Catapulting from this, Evelyn becomes privy to the existence of multiversal travel as she finds her relationship with herself and her loved ones as key components to a potentially world-ending cataclysm.
The film’s irreverent, absurdist, and incredibly heartfelt tone that was expertly balanced by writer-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert was an instant hit across festivals and widespread release. It’s no surprise then that famed distributor A24 would choose to hold an auction of some of this filmic tour de force.
From perfectly popping pieces of mundane clothing such as Waymond’s fanny pack and Evelyn’s red quilted vest to the absurdist oddities of countless realities such as the unforgettable hot dog finger hands and a sentient rock with googly eyes, to say this auction was eclectic does as much a disservice to this beautifully lurid collection as it would the film. All together the auction raised over half a million dollars—and even more admirably the proceeds go to the charities of the Asian Mental Health Project, the Transgender Law Center and the Laundry Workers Center.
Perhaps most unsurprising of this auction is that the puppet for the now legendary Raccacoonie sold for $90,000 alone.
Everything Everywhere All At Once was a profound and unexpected hit in a mainstream film market that has become accustomed to the inescapable loom of blockbuster franchises. To see the venerated success of a work that sought to give comfort and understanding to identity’s rare to hold centre stage in an action epic (as absurd as it may be) gives a hopeful reminder of the power of the medium.