best film: Raise the Red Lantern is Li’s best film, but like her list of top five performances below, in a relatively brief filmography she’s been in many outstanding films from Red Sorghum, to Farewell My Concubine to 2046. Even Miami Vice (which I don’t think she’s amazing in) is an underrated film. But Raise the Red Lantern is a masterpiece and it stands as the best film from Yimou Zhang and the best film from that Fifth generation of Chinese filmmakers.
best performance: Gong Li in Raise the Red Lantern is one of the best performances of the 1990’s. It’s an unnerving performance. She masters both the cold stare and the loud (sometimes angry sometimes in pain) emote. Red Sorghum is a stronger neo-realistic wide-eyed performance but she’s on another level here.
stylistic innovations/traits: She was the muse of both Yimou Zhang (her best work here) and Kaige Chen—making her the seminal actor of the 5th generation of brilliant Chinese auteurs. Red Sorghum was her debut and it’s paralyzing accomplished. She’s also only been in 32 total films to date.
directors worked with: Yimou Zhang (6), Kaige Chen (2) and then once with WKW and Michael Mann
Top 5 Performances:
- Raise the Red Lantern
- Red Sorghum
- The Story of Qui Ju
- Farewell My Concubine
|1987- Red Sorghum|
|1990- Ju Dou|
|1991- Raise the Red Lantern|
|1992- The Story of Qui Ju|
|1993- Farewell My Concubine|
|1995- Shanghai Triad|
|1998- Emperor and the Assassin|
|2006- Miami Vice|
|2006- The Curse of Golden Flower|