Born in Dalian in 1978, Yu Nan started acting at the age of 4. As a teenager she later ignored her family’s advice to study foreign languages and get a university degree, and enrolled at the Beijing Film Academy, the country’s most prestigious film school. After graduating in 1999, she landed her feature film debut, Lunar Eclipse, directed by Wang Quan’an. Her performance in Lunar Eclipse quickly caught the attention of French filmmakers and she was cast in the film Rage by director Karim Dridi.
Why is she famous?
Though better known in Europe than at home, Yu worked together with Wang again in 2006 on Tuya’s Marriage, in which she plays a Mongolian herdswoman. The movie was a hit among critics, winning the prestigious Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear award in 2007. Yu’s performance also won her the Best Actress Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. More recently, the actress starred in the Hollywood action flick Speed Racer.
When asked what she thought about being more famous abroad than at home, Yu replied: “Yes, that’s true. But I don’t have any special plans to focus my career in China or abroad. There are no boundaries in the art world.”
Why is she in the news?
The mainland actress, who speaks fluent French and English, has been invited to sit on the seven-member international jury at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, along with American actress Renee Zellweger.
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