Zhang Nuanxin, 54, Chinese director best known in the West for her ’80s arthouse success “Sacrifice of Youth,” died May 28 in Peking.
Zhang was born in Huhhot, Mongolia, into a family from Liaoning province. After studying at Peking Film Academy 1948-62, she stayed on to teach, and later taught herself French when sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution.
Following her female athlete debut pic, “The Drive to Win” (1981), she made “Sacrifice of Youth” (1985), a meller set among the Dai minority in southern China which toured festivals and was distributed in the West.
She subsequently spent time in Paris studying film, later returning to China to teach and direct. Her other films included “Palanquin of Tears,” “Good Morning, Beijing,” and “The Story of Yunnan.”
She was married to the writer-critic Li Tuo, with whom she co-authored a controversial article on the modernization of film language in 1979.