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Director Gu Xiaogang's personal experience inspires hit film

By Xu Fan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-08 15:21

A still of the new movie Dwelling by the West Lake features actor Wu Lei (front).[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

During the filming of his first feature-length movie, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, director Gu Xiaogang was jolted by the discovery that a family member had fallen victim to a fraudulent organization running a pyramid scheme. This personal experience became the catalyst for his second directorial work, Dwelling by the West Lake, which premiered domestically on April 3.

The film features acclaimed actress Jiang Qinqin and actor Wu Lei in the poignant tale of a middle-aged mother who takes on a job as a tea-picker in Hangzhou to support her son, recently admitted to a college in the city. However, she unwittingly becomes entangled in a fraudulent organization, prompting her son to volunteer in a bid to rescue her.

Over the three-day Tomb-Sweeping Day holiday, concluding on April 6, the film achieved remarkable success, grossing over 44.7 million yuan ($6.19 million) and emerging as the highest-grossing Chinese film of the box office season.

At the movie's Beijing premiere on April 1, director Gu emphasized that the film, drawing from his personal ordeal, aims to caution audiences about the perils of pyramid schemes and the importance of avoiding victimization.

The film's impact extended beyond its domestic release, as lead star Jiang was honored with the Best Actress award at the 17th Asian Film Awards, an esteemed annual event dedicated to promoting the influence of Asian films.

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