Film director Wang Quan'an’s is recognized as being part of the Sixth-Generation of Chinese cinema. The Sixth-Generation is an underground Chinese film movement that tends to focus on individualistic, anti-romantic, truthful portrayals to contemporary life in China. Many of Wang’s films are drama’s that depict the lives of rural Chinese peasants.
After graduating form the Beijing Film Academy in 1991, Wang directed his first film Yue shi (1999). The film portrays a love triangle between a young Beijing socialite, her sugar-daddy fiancé and an attractive, hapless young wannabe photographer. Though Yue shi performed poorly at the Chinese box office, it did win the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2000 Moscow International Film Festival, along with a Best Actress prize for leading lady Yu Nan at the Deauville Film Festival in 2001.
Wang paired up with actress Yu Nan again for Jingzhe (2004). The film told the story of Ermei, a young villager in rural China whose family sells her to an alcoholic neighbor, forcing her to run away to a city. Yu Nan again won praise for her work in the Wang directed film, winning Best Actress Awards at both the Paris Film Festival and the Golden Rooster Awards.
In 2006 Wang directed Tuya de hun shi (Tuya's Marriage), which went on to win the prestigious Golden Berlin Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Again working with Yu Nan, the film’s plot centered on a herder woman in Inner Mongolia who is forced to divorce her disabled husband and look for a new suitor who can take care of her family.