Born in 1961 in Shanghai, Joan Chen began her film career at the age of 14. Her performance in Little Flower catapulted her to fame in China. For her heart-warming performance in the title role, Chen became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Award at the One Hundred Flowers Awards. In 1981 Chen left China to study filmmaking in the United States. She has since appeared in over forty film and television roles, with some of the most notable ones being in Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and Oliver Stone’s Heaven and Earth. Her memorable performance in Red Rose, White Rose won her best actress in the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Critics Awards. Her leading role in the Australian film The Home Song Stories also brought her many best actress awards, including from the Australian Film Institute and the Taiwan Golden Horse. In the past ten years Chen has starred in a number of distinguished movies and TV series, including Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, Bruce Beresford’s film Mao’s Last Dancer, Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises, HBO’s Serangoon Road, and Netflix’s Marco Polo.Joan Chen made her directorial debut in 1997 with the critically acclaimed and award-winning Xiu Xiu: The Sent-down Girl. Her second effort behind the camera was MGM’s Autumn in New York in 2000, starring Richard Gere and Wynona Ryder. Most recently Chen wrote and directed her third feature film, based on the critically acclaimed Chinese novel English by Wang Gang.
Using her unique life experiences and her deeply personal knowledge of the two countries, Chen is actively engaged in promoting positive relationships between the United States and China, through organizations such as the Committee of 100 and the 1990 Institute.