Private Project

Ode to the West Wind

Cui Xian, who comes back to the border city Yanji to attend the funeral service of his father, meets his friend Yu Lun who is running a hotpot restaurant in their hometown. Cui Xian is worried about the preparation of making his first movie while Yu Lun is suffering from bad business caused by COVID-19, and the debt from the restaurant leads to a lawsuit, with his wife disappearing with their child. He is pressed to take back the money from the fund in which he invested, recommended by his friend Yi Xing. Meanwhile, Yi Xing, who is working for a private equity company, is deeply troubled as his boss disappeared with the money. Things are totally out of control. Faced with such a predicament, the three young men have to make a choice.

  • Xian Cui
  • Xian Cui
  • Weilisi Bao
  • Yulun Yang
    Key Cast
    "Yu lun"
  • Jiannan Wang
    Key Cast
    "Yi Xing"
  • Xian Cui
    Key Cast
    "Cui Xian"
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 55 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 20, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,400 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Chinese, Korean
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Xian Cui

Male, Korean Chinese, Writer, Independent Filmmaker, Made his first feature film <Ode to the West Wind> in 2023

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Director Statement

In 2020, I left Beijing in order to go back to my hometown Yanji as my father had been diagnosed as having cancer. My hometown had gone through tremendous changes during my absence for years, and many things had happened to my friends in my hometown. A friend of mine had opened a hotpot restaurant, but due to the outbreak of COVID-19 one month later, he was soon in debt and had to close his restaurant for good. Another friend of mine was involved in a lawsuit which threatened him with a prison sentence because his boss disappeared with clients’ money. I had focused only on myself for too long while in Beijing so that I knew hardly anything else, and when I knew it, I couldn’t really do anything.
During my stay in my hometown, thinking about the things which happened to me as well as. to my friends, it suddenly occurred to me that I could make a movie out of it. Instead of making a kind of propaganda or sugarcoated fact, I would like to depict a life lived by ordinary people around me. If I traced my friends’ life back to where it had all started like a documentary, I believed that I might see their efforts for life and the destination of my movie. In fact, my curiosity was bigger than my ambition. Could I make a movie in this way? Instead of professional acting, I wanted to tell a story webbed with the existence of individuals and show the weight of life under which we struggle. Hence, while making the movie, I tried to find the real people who would fit not only the main characters but also the supporting roles, rather than professional actors. I tried my best to make sure that the fund manager would be played by a real fund manager, the chef by a real chef and the debt collectors by real debt collectors. It might be my prejudice, but actors would have difficulty acting convincingly the people who have lived such a life for several years just by practising for a little time. Acting wouldn’t beat the habit of years. One should play one’s own real role, and minimize dramatic conflict. That’s what I would like to achieve in this movie.
China is economically developing very fast yet 600 million people of the whole population are living with less than 1000RMB a month(around 140 USD), the gap between the rich and the poor is overwhelming. COVID-19 has made it worse for the past 3 years and people are having a tougher life. Under this circumstance, repressed feelings, helplessness and anger lurk here and there. It seems that tough circumstances lead to anger and anger leads to tougher circumstances. I wanted to demonstrate the repressed feelings and seething anger with the symbolic image of “fish and knife”. I wanted to depict in a movie the whirlpool where people are dragged into by anger released. In movies Woyzeck by Werner Herzog and A Brighter Summer Day by Edward Yang, the main character fights against the repression coming from the society by stabbing with a knife in the end. I wanted to tell the story of people who couldn’t pick a knife. I wanted to record with my camera a story of people who chose to be humanitarian even in despair, who supported each other with love and friendship overcoming anger.
American writer William Faulkner once said “ He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.” In spite of my limitations, I wanted to talk about such a soul and spirit. After watching the 115 minute-long movie, if you remember it as a heart-warming movie about love and forgiveness, I, together with everyone else who has contributed to making this movie, will definitely feel very proud.