Gong Li

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For the computer scientist, see Li Gong.
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Gong.
Gong Li
Gong Li Cannes 2011.jpg
Chinese name (traditional)
Chinese name (simplified)
Pinyin Gǒng Lì (Mandarin)
Ancestry Jinan, Shandong, China
Born (1965-12-31) 31 December 1965 (age 48)
Shenyang, China
Occupation Actress
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Ooi Hoe Soeng (1996–2010)
Parents Gong Lize (father)
Liu Ying (mother)[1]

Gong Li (born 31 December 1965) is a Chinese actress. Gong first came into international prominence through close collaboration with Chinese director Zhang Yimou and is credited with helping to bring Chinese cinema to Europe and the United States.[2]

She has twice been awarded the Golden Rooster and the Hundred Flowers Awards as well as the Berlinale Camera, Cannes Festival Trophy, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle Award, and Volpi Cup.

Early life[edit]

Gong Li was born in Shenyang, China, Liaoning, the youngest in a family of five children. Her father was a professor of economics and her mother, who was 40 when Gong was born, was a teacher.[3] Gong grew up in Jinan, the capital of Shandong.

In 1985, Gong sought to study at China's top music school, but was denied entrance. Later that same year, she was accepted to the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and graduated in 1989.[4] While a student at the Central Academy of Drama, she was discovered by Zhang Yimou, who chose her for the lead role in Red Sorghum, his first film as a director.[5]

Career[edit]

Over the next several years after her 1987 acting debut in Red Sorghum, Gong received international acclaim for her roles in several more Zhang Yimou films:[6] She appeared in Ju Dou in 1990; Her performance in the Oscar-nominated Raise the Red Lantern put her in the international spotlight;[5] in The Story of Qiu Ju, she was named Best Actress at the 1992 Venice Film Festival. These roles established her reputation, according to Asiaweek, as "one of the world's most glamorous movie stars and an elegant throwback to Hollywood's golden era."[5] In many of her early movies, Gong Li represents a tragic victim and an abused soul (physically or emotionally), trying to release herself from an impossible maze of corruption, violence and suppression. In Raise the Red Lantern and Shanghai Triad an additional tragic element is added to her being as she unintentionally becomes the executioner of new innocent victims, making her realize that she has assisted the dark cynical system.[7]

In June 1998, Gong Li became a recipient of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Two years later, she was invited by the Berlin Film Festival to be the president of its international jury at the festival's 50th anniversary (2001 February).[8]

In 1993, she received a New York Film Critics Circle award for her role in Farewell My Concubine. Directed by Chen Kaige, the film was her first major role with a director other than Zhang Yimou. In the same year, she was awarded with the Berlinale Camera at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[9]

In 2006, Premiere Magazine ranked her performance in Farewell My Concubine as the 89th greatest performance of all time.


Immune to political repercussions because of her fame, Gong Li began criticizing the censorship policy in China. Her films Farewell My Concubine and The Story of Qiu Ju were initially banned in China for being thinly-veiled critiques of the Chinese government.[8] Regarding the sexual content in Ju Dou, Chinese censorship deemed the film "a bad influence on the physical and spiritual health of young people."[6]

Despite her popularity, Gong avoided Hollywood for years, due to a lack of confidence in speaking English.[10] She made her English speaking debut in 2005 when she starred as Hatsumomo in Memoirs of a Geisha. Her performance was met with generally positive reviews.[11]

Her other English-language roles to date included Chinese Box in 1997, Miami Vice in 2006 and Hannibal Rising in 2007. In all three films, she learned her English lines phonetically. In 2010, she stated that she was becoming more selective with the Chinese language projects offered to her during a press junket for her upcoming film Shanghai.

She narrated "Beijing" (2008), an audio walking tour by Louis Vuitton and Soundwalk,[12] which won an Audie Award for best Original Work (2009).[13]

In 2010, she starred in the World War Two-era thriller Shanghai about an American man, Paul Soames (played by John Cusack) who returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. In this film, Gong plays Anna Lan-Ting, the wife of triad boss Anthony Lan-Ting (played by Chow Yun-fat). Ken Watanabe co-stars as Japanese military intelligence officer Captain Tanaka.[14][15]

In 2014 she was a jury president of the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival. In the same year, she reunited with Zhang Yimou for the film Coming Home. A drama set during the throes of the Cultural Revolution, the film was their first collaboration since 2006.

Personal life[edit]

Her personal and professional relationship with director Zhang Yimou was highly publicized. The pair collaborated together on seven films between 1987 and 1995, before ending their partnership. They reunited in 2006 for the film Curse of the Golden Flower and in 2014 on Coming Home.

In 1996, news began circulating that Gong had married tobacco tycoon Ooi Hoe Seong. They were married in November 1996 at Hong Kong's China Club.[16][17] On 28 June 2010, the chief editor of Chinese entertainment magazine Southern Entertainment revealed that Gong's agent confirmed that Gong Li and her husband had divorced.[18][19]

Gong Li was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 16 October 2000.[20]

She was voted the most beautiful woman in China in 2006.[21][22]

Gong Li applied for Singapore citizenship in early 2008. When overseas professional obligations prevented her from showing up at her scheduled August citizenship ceremony, she was harshly criticized for not making it a priority. On Saturday, 8 November 2008, Gong, in an effort to make amends, attended a citizenship ceremony held at Teck Ghee Community Club and received her Singapore citizenship certificate from Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Awards
1987 Red Sorghum
红高粱
Jiu'er
1989 The Empress Dowager
西太后
Guilian
Mr. Sunshine
開心巨無霸
Codename Cougar
代号美洲豹
Ah Li Hundred Flowers Award for Best Supporting Actress
1990 A Terracotta Warrior
秦俑
Winter/Lili Chu Nominated – Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress
Ju Dou
菊豆
Ju Dou First Chinese film nominated for an Academy Award, entered at Cannes
1991 God of Gamblers III: Back to Shanghai
賭俠2之上海灘賭聖
Yu-Sin/Yu-Mong
Raise the Red Lantern
大红灯笼高高挂
Songlian Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Actress
The Banquet
豪門夜宴
Waitress at banquet
1992 The Story of Qiu Ju
秋菊打官司
Qiu Ju Golden Rooster Awards for Best Actress
Volpi Cup for Best Actress
Golden Phoenix Awards for Best Female Actor
Mary from Beijing
夢醒時分
Mary
1993 Farewell My Concubine
霸王别姬
Juxian New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Flirting Scholar
唐伯虎點秋香
Chou Heung
1994 Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens of Heavenly Mountain
新天龍八部之天山童姥
Mo Han-Wen
A Soul Haunted by Painting
画魂
Pan Yuliang
To Live
活着
Xu Jiazhen
The Great Conqueror's Concubine
西楚霸王
Lü Zhi
1995 Shanghai Triad
摇啊摇,摇到外婆桥
Xiao Jingbao
1996 Temptress Moon
风月
Pang Ruyi Nominated – Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress
1997 Chinese Box
中國匣子
Vivian
1998 The Emperor and the Assassin
荆柯刺秦王
Lady Zhao
2000 Breaking the Silence
漂亮妈妈
Sun Liying Golden Rooster Awards for Best Actress
Montreal World Film Festival for Best Actress
Golden Phoenix Awards for Best Actress
Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Actress
Shanghai Film Critics Awards for Best Actress
2002 Zhou Yu's Train
周渔的火车
Zhou Yu Students' Choice Award for Favourite Actress
2004 2046 Su Li Zhen Wong Kar-wai, director
Eros
爱神
Miss Hua
2005 Memoirs of a Geisha
艺伎回忆录
Hatsumomo National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2006 Miami Vice
迈阿密风暴
Isabella
Curse of the Golden Flower
满城尽带黄金甲
Empress Phoenix Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress
Hong Kong Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Asian Film Awards for Best Actress
2007 Hannibal Rising
沉默的羔羊前传之揭开罪幕
Lady Murasaki Shikibu Lecter
2010 Shanghai
諜海風雲
Anna Lan-Ting
2011 What Women Want
我知女人心
Li Yilong
2014 Coming Home [23]
2016 The Monkey King 2
西遊記之孫悟空三打白骨精
Baigujing

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 巩俐说母亲:“影后”的归宿慈母的泪
  2. ^ Kehr, Dave (16 July 2004). "Torn Between a Dreamy Idealist and a Veterinarian". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  3. ^ Gong Li Sidebar
  4. ^ Gong Li Biography – Barnes & Noble.com
  5. ^ a b c Ghahremani, Yasmin; Stanmeyer, Anastacia (24 September 1999), "Nation builders". Asiaweek. 25 (38):74
  6. ^ a b Dargis, Manohla (5 December 2004), "Glamour's New Orientation". New York Times. 154 (53054):Arts & Leisure 1
  7. ^ Gong Li in ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ and ‘Shanghai Triad’ – The Tragedy of a Victim who Reinforces the system – ThinkingChinese.com
  8. ^ a b No byline (25 February 2000), "First lady of film". Asiaweek. 26 (7):34
  9. ^ "Berlinale: 1993 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "The Women of Geisha – EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. 
  11. ^ Lyttle, John (16 January 2006), "The eastern affront". New Statesman, 135 (4775):47
  12. ^ Soundwalk. Accessed 17 Sept. 2009.
  13. ^ Audio Publishers Association. Accessed 20 Sept. 2009.
  14. ^ IMDB, The Internet Movie Database Accessed 28 Sept. 2010.
  15. ^ Shanghai International Film Festival on the red carpet
  16. ^ No byline (10 February 1997), "Gong Li & Ooi Hoe Seong". People. 47 (5):112
  17. ^ Louie, Elaine (29 October 1996), "Chronicle:Gong Li". New York Times. 146 (50595):B16
  18. ^ Gong Li was exposed to be divorced from Huang Hexiang 7 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  19. ^ 巩俐被爆离婚 (in Chinese). SINA Corporation. 
  20. ^ "Gong Li". Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 16 September 2009. 
  21. ^ "Gong Li voted China's Most Beautiful Person". China Daily. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2007. 
  22. ^ Min, Shen (22 May 2006). "Gong Li Voted China's Most Beautiful Star". Retrieved 17 March 2007. 
  23. ^ Variety http://variety.com/2013/film/news/zhang-yimou-and-gong-li-reunited-in-return-1200615905/ |url= missing title (help). 

External links[edit]