Precocious talent scoops best film honor in Chongqing
The drama film “Dwelling In the Fuchun Mountains,” by young filmmaker Gu Xiaogang, recently received the most coveted Best Feature Film award at the 6th Chongqing Youth Film Festival.
The late October festival screened around 50 films made by up-and-coming film directors from all over the world.
Set to ancient Chinese painter Huang Gongwang’s famous landscape painting, the 150-minute-film is an engaging drama about the unexpected challenges faced by four families on discovering an aged mother’s sudden disease.
Just like the river that flows through the town in the movie, the film naturally follows the families’ fortunes juxtaposed the social changes of the time. Its distinctive visuals are inspired by the aesthetics in traditional Chinese paintings.
Director Gu said that the film is the first installment of a planned trilogy following the lives of ordinary people through the generations.
The film is Gu’s directorial debut, and rock musician Dou Wei is the music director of the film scores.
Shooting of the movie took Gu two years to complete as he captured the changing four seasons of his hometown in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
One of his biggest challenges was the film’s opening scene when the four sons organize a grand birthday banquet for their old mother.
“A lot of actors are involved in this scene,” Gu said. “The scene requires us to introduce the characters and their relationships within a very short time. It’s difficult because some of the amateur actors have no acting experience.”
Gu suffered a lot of financial pressure shooting the movie because of the length of time it took to make. Fortunately he got a lot of support from the domestic film industry.
Huang Xufeng, CEO of Factory Gate Films, said his company feels socially responsible to support talented young Chinese filmmakers.
“There are few movies in China about contemporary family life,” Huang said. “Gu’s work has a strong and sentimental concern about ordinary families. It is very touching.”
When the film was shown to close the Critics’ Week at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, it was hailed by pundits and movie buffs.
Many people were impressed by the real-life Chinese story and its exploration of social issues, such as parenthood relationships, care for the elderly and a young college graduate’s choice — working in big city or small town.
The film also won honors at the 13th FIRST International Film Festival and Filmfest Hamburg 2019.
With long tracking shots and a slow pace, it is also compared to the work of celebrated Chinese filmmakers Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien. The film is slated for release in France on January 1, 2020. It will later be released at cinemas across China.