In the People's Republic of China and abroad, the work of filmmaker Xie Jin is renowned for the ways he created tragic melodramas out of complex political issues. While young, Xie Jin was educated in Chinese opera and classical literature. In 1938, he began his career as an actor playing patriotic roles in Shanghai. He later became a student of dramatists Cao Yu and Hon Shen in the State Theater Institute, where he was exposed to Western literature. He then studied Marxist theory at the Political Research Institute at the Northeastern Revolutionary University in 1950. He began directing films in Shanghai circa 1953. After making his 1965 film Wutai Jiemei, the tender tale of two female singers in the Zheijiang opera, Xie Jin was called a "bourgeois humanist," and the film won the British Film Institute Award at the 1980 London Film Festival. He was later imprisoned for several years during the first few years of the Cultural Revolution. His films made during the 1980s combined melodrama, patriotism, and pleas for social reform. His 1981 film Tianyunshan Chuanqi won the first national Golden Rooster Award in China. Xie Jin died of unspecified causes in Hong Kong, in October of 2008.