Gong Li

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Gong Li
Gong Li Cannes 2011.jpg
Background information
Chinese name (traditional)
Chinese name (simplified)
Pinyin Gǒng Lì (Mandarin)
Born (1965-12-31) 31 December 1965 (age 51)
Shenyang, Liaoning, China
Nationality China (1965–2008)
Singapore (2008–present)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Ooi Hoe Soeng (1996–2010)
Children Mamoru Yoki Chung Li
Parents Gong Lize (father)
Liu Ying (mother)
Ancestry Jinan, Shandong, China

Gong Li (born 31 December 1965) is a Singaporean-Chinese actress. She first came to international prominence through her close collaborations with Chinese director Zhang Yimou and won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at Venice for her performance in his 1992 film The Story of Qiu Ju. She is credited with helping to bring Chinese cinema to Europe and the United States;[1] in 2008, she became a naturalized citizen of Singapore.

Gong won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for Farewell My Concubine (1993) and the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She has also twice been awarded the Golden Rooster and the Hundred Flowers Awards, as well as the Berlinale Camera, and the Cannes Festival Trophy. Her other film appearances include Ju Dou (1990), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), 2046 (2004), and Miami Vice (2006).

Early life[edit]

Gong Li was born in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, the youngest in a family of five children. Her father was a professor of economics and her mother was a teacher.[2] Gong grew up in Jinan, the capital of Shandong.

In 1985, she was accepted to the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and graduated in 1989.[3] 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.[4]

Career[edit]

1990–1999[edit]

Over the several years following her 1987 acting debut in Red Sorghum, Gong received international acclaim for her roles in several more Zhang Yimou films,[5][6] she starred in Ju Dou in 1990; her performance in the Oscar-nominated Raise the Red Lantern (1991) put her in the international spotlight;[4] she was named Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in The Story of Qiu Ju (1992). 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."[4] In many of her early movies, Gong 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 (1995) 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 1993, she received a New York Film Critics Circle award for her role in Farewell My Concubine (1993).[8] Directed by Chen Kaige, the film was her first major role with a director other than Zhang Yimou;[6] in the same year, she was awarded with the Berlinale Camera at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[9] Premiere magazine ranked her performance in Farewell My Concubine as the 89th greatest performance of all time. She also worked with renowned director Stephen Chow in comedy films God of Gamblers III: Back to Shanghai (1991) and Flirting Scholar (1993)[10][11]

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.[12] Regarding the sexual content in Ju Dou, Chinese censorship deemed the film "a bad influence on the physical and spiritual health of young people."[5]

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).[12]

2000–2009[edit]

Gong won her second international Best Actress trophy for her performance as a struggling single mother in Breaking the Silence (2000) at the Montreal Film Festival, directed by Sun Zhou,[13] she was invited to head the Venice Film Festival in 2002.[14]

In the early 2000s, Gong also starred in two films directed by Wong Kar-wai, namely 2046 and Eros (both in 2004).[15] She attended the Cannes Film Festival that year, where she was awarded the Festival Trophy for her contributions to film.

Despite her popularity, Gong avoided Hollywood for years, due to a lack of confidence in speaking English,[16] 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,[17] her other English-language roles to date included Miami Vice in 2006 and Hannibal Rising in 2007. In all three films, she learned her English lines phonetically.

She worked again with Zhang Yimou for historical epic Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). Time named her performance as the Empress as the 7th greatest performance of the year.

She narrated "Beijing" (2008), an audio walking tour by Louis Vuitton and Soundwalk,[18] which won an Audie Award for best Original Work (2009).[19]

2011–present[edit]

In 2010, Gong starred in the World War II-era thriller Shanghai as a spy who disguises as the wife of a triad boss (played by Chow Yun-fat), she turned to documentaries and photographs about World War II, besides taking dancing classes three times a week, to ensure an accurate portrayal of the character.[10] During a press junket for the film, she stated that she was becoming more selective with the Chinese language projects offered to her.

In 2014, Gong was a jury president of the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival.[20] In the same year, she reunited with Zhang Yimou for the film Coming Home, which is set during the throes of the Cultural Revolution, the film was their first collaboration since 2006.[21]

In 2016, Gong took on her first action role in The Monkey King 2, playing the White Bone Demon.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Her personal and professional relationship with director Zhang Yimou was highly publicized, the pair collaborated on six films between 1987 and 1995, before ending their relationship.[23][24] They reunited in 2006 for the film Curse of the Golden Flower and in 2014 on Coming Home.[25]

In November 1996, Gong married Singaporean tobacco tycoon Ooi Hoe Seong at Hong Kong's China Club,[26][27] on 28 June 2010, Gong's agent confirmed that Gong Li and her husband had divorced.[28]

Gong was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 16 October 2000.[29]

She was voted the most beautiful woman in China in 2006.[30][31]

Gong 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.[32]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
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
A Terracotta Warrior
秦俑
Winter/Lili Chu
1990 Ju Dou
菊豆
Ju Dou
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
The Banquet
豪門夜宴
Waitress at banquet
1992 The Story of Qiu Ju
秋菊打官司
Qiu Ju
Mary from Beijing
夢醒時分
Mary
1993 Farewell My Concubine
霸王别姬
Juxian
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
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
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
2002 Zhou Yu's Train
周渔的火车
Zhou Yu
2004 2046 Su Li Zhen
Eros
爱神
Miss Hua
2005 Memoirs of a Geisha
艺伎回忆录
Hatsumomo
2006 Miami Vice
迈阿密风暴
Isabella
Curse of the Golden Flower
满城尽带黄金甲
Empress Phoenix
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
归来
Feng Waynu
2016 The Monkey King 2
西遊記之孫悟空三打白骨精
White Bone Demon

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1989 Hundred Flowers Award Best Supporting Actress Codename Cougar Won
1990 Hong Kong Film Award Best Actress A Terracotta Warrior Nominated
1991 Hundred Flowers Awards Raise the Red Lantern Won
1992 Volpi Cup The Story of Qiu Ju Won
1993 Golden Rooster Awards Won
Golden Phoenix Awards Society Award Won
New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actress Farewell My Concubine Won
Berlin International Film Festival Berlindale Camera N/A Won
1996 Hong Kong Film Award Best Actress Temptress Moon Nominated
1998 Ordre des Arts et des Lettres N/A Won
2000 Golden Rooster Awards Best Actress Breaking the Silence Won
Montreal World Film Festival Won
Hundred Flowers Awards Won
2001 Shanghai Film Critics Awards Won
Golden Phoenix Awards Society Award Won
2003 Beijing College Student Film Festival Most Popular Actress Zhou Yu's Train Won
2004 Cannes Film Festival Festival Trophy N/A Won
2005 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Memoirs of a Geisha Won
Satellite Award Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
2007 Hong Kong Film Award Best Actress Curse of the Golden Flower Won
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award Won
Asian Film Awards Nominated
2014 Shanghai Film Critics Awards Best Actress Coming Home Won
Golden Deer Awards Won
Golden Horse Awards Nominated
2015 Asian Film Awards Nominated
China Film Directors' Guild Awards Won
Chinese Film Media Awards Nominated
Huabiao Awards Outstanding Actress Nominated

Jury[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kehr, Dave (16 July 2004). "Torn Between a Dreamy Idealist and a Veterinarian". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Gong Li Sidebar". 
  3. ^ Gong Li Biography – Barnes & Noble.com
  4. ^ a b c Ghahremani, Yasmin; Stanmeyer, Anastacia (24 September 1999), "Nation builders". Asiaweek. 25 (38):74
  5. ^ a b Dargis, Manohla (5 December 2004), "Glamour's New Orientation". New York Times. 154 (53054):Arts & Leisure 1
  6. ^ a b "FILM; A Chinese Actress Blossoms on the Screen". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Gong Li in ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ and ‘Shanghai Triad’ – The Tragedy of a Victim who Reinforces the systemThinkingChinese.com
  8. ^ "N.Y. Writers Pick 'List' but Bypass Spielberg : Movies: Film Critics Circle echoes its L.A. counterpart by naming 'Schindler's List' the best work of 1993 and 'The Piano's' Jane Campion best director.". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ "Berlinale: 1993 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "'I don't fear mistakes': Gong Li". China Daily. 
  11. ^ "Gong Li wants to be a better Chow Heung". Yahoo News. 
  12. ^ a b No byline (25 February 2000), "First lady of film". Asiaweek. 26 (7):34
  13. ^ "Montreal fest dawns an age of ‘Innocence’". Variety. 
  14. ^ "Gong Li heads Venice festival jury". The Guardian. 
  15. ^ "Gong Li says she is a versatile actress". China Daily. 
  16. ^ "The Women of Geisha – EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. 
  17. ^ Lyttle, John (16 January 2006), "The eastern affront". New Statesman, 135 (4775):47
  18. ^ Soundwalk. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  19. ^ Audio Publishers Association. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
  20. ^ "Chinese Actress Gong Li to Chair Jury at Shanghai Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  21. ^ "Gong Li and Zhang Yimou Reunite in Coming Home". The Huffington Post. 
  22. ^ "Gong Li gets a kick out of playing evil in The Monkey King 2". The Straits Times. 
  23. ^ "Zhang Yimou's daughter accuses Gong Li of ruining her childhood". AsiaOne. Singapore Press Holdings. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Feinstein, Howard (16 June 2000). "Life after Gong Li". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Barber, Lynden (25 February 2015). "Favourite star Gong Li shines for Zhang Yimou". The Australian. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  26. ^ No byline (10 February 1997), "Gong Li & Ooi Hoe Seong". People. 47 (5):112
  27. ^ Louie, Elaine (29 October 1996), "Chronicle: Gong Li". New York Times. 146 (50595):B16
  28. ^ "Gong Li 'divorces Singaporean husband'". The Telegraph. 
  29. ^ "Gong Li". Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved 16 September 2009. 
  30. ^ "Gong Li voted China's Most Beautiful Person". China Daily. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2007. 
  31. ^ Min, Shen (22 May 2006). "Gong Li Voted China's Most Beautiful Star". Retrieved 17 March 2007. 
  32. ^ "Gong Li becomes a Singaporean". The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2015 – via AsiaOne. 

External links[edit]