Li Gong - Rotten Tomatoes

Li Gong

Highest Rated:   100% Ju Dou (1990)
Lowest Rated:   0% What Women Want (2011)
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



73% Mulan
  • Xianniang
No Score Yet Leap (Duo Guan)
  • Actor
57% Saturday Fiction (Lan xin da ju yuan)
  • Actor
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
46% Miami Vice
  • Isabella
$63.5M 2006
No Score Yet Behind the Mask
  • Actor
35% Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Hatsumomo
$57M 2005
86% 2046
  • Su Li Zhen
$1.3M 2005
85% Three Times (Zui hao de shi guang)
  • Actor
34% Eros
  • Miss Hua
$54.2k 2004
42% Zhou Yu's Train
  • Zhou Yu/Xiu
No Score Yet Piao liang ma ma (Breaking the Silence)
  • Sun Liying
No Score Yet Breaking the Silence
  • Actor
81% The Emperor and the Assassin (Jing Ke ci Qin Wang)
  • Lady Zhao
64% Chinese Box
  • Vivian
62% Temptress Moon
  • Pang Ruyi
90% Shanghai Triad (Yao a yao yao dao waipo qiao)
  • Xiao-Jinbao
86% To Live (Huo zhe)
  • Jiazhen
No Score Yet The Great Conqueror's Concubine (King of Western Chu) (Xi chu bawang)
  • Lu Zhi
No Score Yet A Soul Haunted by Painting
  • Pan Yuliang
No Score Yet Xin tian long ba bu zhi tian shan tong lao (Dragon Chronicles: The Maidens)(8 Guardians of Buddhism)
  • Mo Han-wen
No Score Yet Semi-Gods and Semi-Devils
  • Actor
No Score Yet Flirting Scholar (Tang Bohu dian Qiuxiang)
  • Chen Heung
No Score Yet Ching Se
  • Actor
86% The Story of Qiu Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si)
  • Qiu Ju
96% Raise the Red Lantern (Da hong deng long gao gao gua)
  • Songlian
No Score Yet Du xia II zhi Shang Hai tan du sheng (Back to Shanghai) (God of Gamblers III)
  • Actor
100% Ju Dou
  • Ju Dou
No Score Yet Qin yong (A Terra-Cotta Warrior)
  • Actor
85% Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)
  • Jiu Er

Quotes from Li Gong's Characters