Another day, another post about one of China’s biggest stars. Today it is Gong Li’s turn.
Born on 31st December 1965 in Shenyang, China. After failing to enter into music school, Li was accepted into Central Academy of Drama Beijing in 1986, though Li graduated in 1989. She did not have to wait until graduation, to begin her acting career. In 1987, Li was discovered by director Zhang Yimou. So impressed was Zhang that he chose Li to star in his debut feature ‘Red Sorghum’. Thus began a fruitful creative and romantic relationship. After several film together, Zhang’s masterpiece and the film that launched Li into international notice was released in 1991. ‘Raise the Red Lantern’, earnt an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. Li postponed her inevitable journey to Hollywood until 2005, when Li appeared in the big screen adaptation of ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. Followed up with ‘Miami Vice’ (2006), ‘Hannibal’ (2007) and her last English language film ‘Shanghai’. Even though their romantic relationship had ended. Zhang and Li reunited in 2006 for ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’ and in 2014’s ‘Coming Home’.
Despite being a star China, Li has not been shy in voicing her criticism of China’s censorship. A risky move considering the Chinese Government’s penchant for arresting anyone who opposes them. Considering the controversy films like ‘Farewell My Concubine’ and ‘Qiu Ju’ have endured. Li’s career has remained remarkably unblemished.
Just like Fan Bingbing. Li has graced many red carpets including this years Met Gala. As a personal note on the event, given that the theme was meant to based on China, very few outfits adhered to this motif. Except for Fan, Zhang and of course Li herself. Adorning herself in designer threads, even becoming ambassador for Piaget in 2015.
I have been trying to find a copy of ‘Raise the Red Lantern’. Especially since Dita Von Teese’s Opium Den show was inspired by the aesthetics of Red Lamtern. Clearly Li is a magnetic force not to be meddled with.