At 17, Yu Nan left the native coastal city of Dalian, in order to escape a predetermined life with school and a professional perspective as an interpreter. Instead, she attended the Beijing Film Academy, where she was accepted as one of 15 among 10,000 applicants. There she was away from the drama school by chance by the director Wang Quan'an for his debut film, Lunar Eclipse (月 蚀Chinese, Pinyin Yueshi ) discovered. In 2000, she won several international awards as the lead actress of the film.
Yu Nan speaks her native language and fluent in English and French, so first international film offers, such as the lead role of Chinh in the French film followed Fureur. Your second collaboration with Wang Quan'an led to the movie The Story of Ermei. For the representation of Ermei she has won several awards as " Best Actress "; she could win almost all Chinese film awards in this category in 2003 /04. With the award-winning film drama Tuya's Marriage, she presented for the first time a wider international audience, after which even Hollywood directors began to care for them. For the Wachowski brothers she was in Speed Racer (2008 ) on the side of Emile Hirsch and Christina Ricci in front of the camera.
In 2010 she was appointed to the jury of the 60th International Film Festival of Berlin.
- 2001: Deauville Film Festival: Best Actress for Lunar Eclipse
- 2003: Association of Chinese Film Actor, Best Actress for The Story of Ermei
- 2003: Student Film Festival China, Jury Award in the category " Best Actress " for The Story of Ermei
- 2003: Golden Rooster Award: Best Actress for The Story of Ermei
- 2004: International Film Festival Paris: Best Actress for The Story of Ermei