Li Gong

Li Gong

Highest Rated: 100% Ju Dou (1990)

Lowest Rated: 0% What Women Want (2011)

Birthday: Dec 31, 1965

Birthplace: Shenyang, Liaoning, China

As the radiantly beautiful star of Zhang Yimou's finest films, Gong Li became the darling of the international art house circuit and China's most famous actress. Whether playing a pregnant villager searching for justice or a rich man's concubine struggling to survive, she lends her characters a grace and sensuality that keeps international audiences transfixed. Born in December 31st,1965 in northeastern Shenyang, Gong was the youngest daughter of an economics professor. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actress, and at school she excelled at singing and dancing almost to the exclusion of other subjects. In spite of failing her college exam twice, she was eventually accepted to the Beijing Central College of Drama in 1985. At that time, Chinese cinema was experiencing a renaissance after the tumult of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth (1984) had just taken the Hong Kong International Film Festival by storm, heralding the rise of the Fifth Generation of filmmakers. One of these young directors was Zhang, the cinematographer for Yellow Earth, who cast Gong in his debut project, Red Sorghum (1987). Immediately a critical and commercial success both abroad and at home, the film garnered the Golden Bear award at the 1987 Berlin Film Festival and thrust both director and star into the international limelight.Their professional and well-publicized personal relationship would go on to shape Chinese cinema for the next decade. Yimou's films made Li an international household name, while Li's undeniable presence pulled in audiences. After appearing in the forgettable Codename Cougar (1987) and starring opposite her beau in The Terracotta Warrior (1989), Li grabbed the attention of international audiences again with the Academy Award-nominated Ju Dou (1990). Her performance as the beleaguered bride of a bitter, impotent old man glistened with barely repressed sexuality, and fierce, gleeful vengeance. In her next film, Raise the Red Lantern (1992), widely considered Yimou's masterpiece, Li again brilliantly played a woman whose independence and sensuality are oppressed by a rigidly patriarchal culture. Yet Li's performance in The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) is perhaps her most memorable. Instead of playing the object of obsession, she portrayed an unflagging agent of justice in the guise of a dumpy, pregnant peasant woman. The change in characters paid off, as she won a Best Actress award at the 1992 Venice International Film Festival. After playing the lead in Sylvia Chang's well-received Mary from Beijing (1992), Li played a prostitute turned opera star's wife turned enemy of the people in Kaige's stunning, Farewell, My Concubine (1993), which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. For the first time, Li received international acclaim in a film not directed by Yimou. Though she would star in two more of Yimou's films, To Live (1994) and Shanghai Triad (1995), her career started to take her in a different direction. After the latter was released, the press reported that Li and Yimou had officially ended both their personal and professional relationships. That same year, she married Singapore tobacco tycoon Ooi Hoe Soeng. Since then, she has appeared in two more Kaige films, Temptress Moon (1996) and The Emperor and the Assassin (1999). In 1997, she appeared in her first English language role opposite Jeremy Irons in Chinese Box (1997). Her star continuing to shine brightly in such homegrown efforts as Zhou Yu's Train and Wong Kar Wei's romantic drama 2046, the Chinese actress raised a few eyebrows when cast in the role of a Japanese geisha in director Rob Marshall's 2005 effort Memoirs of a Geisha. A featured role opposite Collin Farrell and Jamie Foxx in the eagerly-anticipated big screen action extravaganza Miami Vice would find Li returning stateside to appear before the cameras once again in 2005.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Mulan Xianniang 2020
54% Saturday Fiction (Lan xin da ju yuan) Actor 2019
4% Shanghai Anna Lan-Ting $45.2K 2015
89% Coming Home Feng Wanyu $0.3M 2015
0% What Women Want Ly Yilong $0.2M 2011
16% Hannibal Rising Lady Murasaki $27.6M 2007
65% Curse of the Golden Flower Empress $6.5M 2006
47% Miami Vice Isabella $63.5M 2006
No Score Yet Behind the Mask Actor 2006
35% Memoirs of a Geisha Hatsumomo $57.1M 2005
86% 2046 Su Li Zhen $1.3M 2005
86% Three Times (Zui hao de shi guang) Actor 2005
34% Eros Miss Hua $54.2K 2004
42% Zhou Yu's Train Zhou Yu/Xiu 2004
No Score Yet Piao liang ma ma (Breaking the Silence) Sun Liying 1999
No Score Yet Breaking the Silence Actor 1999
81% The Emperor and the Assassin (Jing Ke ci Qin Wang) Lady Zhao 1998
64% Chinese Box Vivian 1998
62% Temptress Moon Pang Ruyi 1997
89% Shanghai Triad (Yao a yao yao dao waipo qiao) Xiao-Jinbao 1995
86% To Live (Huo zhe) Jiazhen 1994
No Score Yet The Great Conqueror's Concubine (King of Western Chu) (Xi chu bawang) Lu Zhi 1994
No Score Yet A Soul Haunted by Painting Pan Yuliang 1994
No Score Yet Xin tian long ba bu zhi tian shan tong lao (Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens)(8 Guardians of Buddhism) Mo Han-wen 1994
No Score Yet Semi-Gods and Semi-Devils Actor 1994
No Score Yet Flirting Scholar (Tang Bohu dian Qiuxiang) Chen Heung 1993
No Score Yet Ching Se Actor 1993
86% The Story of Qiu Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si) Qiu Ju 1992
96% Raise the Red Lantern (Da hong deng long gao gao gua) Songlian 1992
No Score Yet Du xia II zhi Shang Hai tan du sheng (Back to Shanghai) (God of Gamblers III) Actor 1991
100% Ju Dou Ju Dou 1990
No Score Yet Qin yong (A Terra-Cotta Warrior) Actor 1989
83% Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang) Jiu Er 1987


Feng Wanyu says: He's alive and he's coming home!

Feng Wanyu says: Lu wrote me all these letters. Can you help me read them?

Isabella says: Do you dance?..... i dance

Isabella says: Do you dance? I dance

Isabella says: Do you dance?

Hatsumomo says: My dear okasan. We will see, won't we?

Mother says: I'm entitled to do as i choose.

Mother says: I'm entitled to do as I choose.

Hatsumomo says: But you promised the okiya to Pumpkin!

Mother says: Look at her, still a virgin maiko. [Pumpkin gets up and runs off]

Hatsumomo says: Pumpkin! [Hatsumomo tries unsuccessfully to pull her back]

Sayuri says: Can't you adopt us both?

Mother says: Quiet Sayuri. Now I'm no fool. Pumpkin would only be Hatsumomo's puppet. How long will it take before you kick us out on the street.

Hatsumomo says: I have given you my life.

Mother says: Yes your impudence, your foul temper.

Hatsumomo says: Who paid for the silk on your back. The rice in your bowl. The tobacco in that pipe of your!? WHO?!

Mother says: Don't exaggerate! You have not even had a danna.

Hatsumomo says: It's that kimono. She remembers how you destroyed it. Now she wants to get even.

Hatsumomo says: Hmm, what is it? 20 yen? 30?

Mother says: This can't be the right amount.

Mameha says: I trust you agree. I have won the wager. Sayuri's made history. No mizuagi has ever been sold for more, not even mine. 15,000 yen.

Hatsumomo says: What did Mameha do? Speak to the director, in private?

Sayuri says: Not every geisha uses that kind of currency.

Hatsumomo says: Who is responsible for this?! [slams the poster on the table]

Mother says: Ask Mameha.

Hatsumomo says: I'm asking you okasan.

Pumpkin says: How come Sayuri gets to be the lead?

Mother says: It's your own fault. You should practice more.

Hatsumomo says: I shall destroy you!

Hatsumomo says: Sometimes, the smartest remark is silence.

Sayuri says: What better advise to follow than your own.

Mameha says: Sayuri.

Hatsumomo says: I was a maiko myself once.

Sayuri says: Of course, but it's been such a very long, long, long, long time. [Everyone laughs]