Huang Shuqin, one of China's most prestigious female directors, passed away at 82 in a Shanghai hospital on the night of April 21 after battling diseases for quite some time, according to an obituary released by the Shanghai Film Association.
Over her decades-long career starting from late 1970s, Huang, remarked as not being prolific but a perfectionist, helmed a total of ten movies and five TV series as well as two stage shows. These works vary from the Gong Li-starring biographical movie A Soul Haunted by Painting and the popular TV series Fortress Besieged, adapted from late scholar Qian Zhongshu's namesake masterpiece.
The oldest daughter of renowned director Huang Zuolin and actress Jin Yunzhi, Huang Shuqin was born in Tianjin in 1939, before she moved with her parents to Shanghai a year later.
Graduating from the Beijing Film Academy, Huang Shuqin started her filmmaking career as the deputy director to assist iconic auteur Xie Jin in A, Yao Lan (Ah, The Cradle) and Legend of Tianyun Mountain, respectively released in 1979 and 1980.
Since her directorial debut Dang Dai Ren (The Modern People) released in 1981, she endeavored to explore a wide range of themes, from women's status quo to overseas Chinese people. With the well-rounded and influential characters in her films, Huang Shuqin established her signature style to examine the societal changes in the era through the joys and sorrows of ordinary people.
One of her most famous stories which exemplifies her devotion happened while she was filming Fortress Besieged. She was sitting on a wheelchair to go to the filming set of Fortress Besieged, as she suffered a comminuted fracture of the right calf in an accident while checking for suitable sets. Gathering some of the then most famous stars, including actors Chen Daoming and Ge You, the drama won Huang Shuqin the best director prize at the 10th Flying Apsaras Awards, one of China's highest honors for the television industry.
Huang's 1994 TV series Nie Zhai (Redemption) — about five children leaving Yunnan province to seek their biological parents in Shanghai — was also a smash hit, shattering a string of records by attracting more than 42 percent of the television audience. A lot of people are expressing their grief over the departure of Huang Shuqin on China's social platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo.
With Shanghai still in the harsh battle against pandemic, her son Zheng Dasheng, also an established director, said the funeral will be held in a simple way, according to the Chengdu-based Red Star News.