Movies: Gong Li

Memoirs of a Geisha, 2046, Eros

Gong Li, mainland China's first superstar actress, is a toughie. Something in her glance, her posture, her soul knows that passion is pain, to be dished out or endured. It's an iron will that directors—starting with Zhang Yimou, her mentor and onetime companion—love to see broken.

So in Wong Kar-wai's 2046, she plays a hardened gambler whose ego and heart get bruised one Christmas Eve. In Wong's contribution to the three-part film Eros, she is a notorious courtesan who loses her looks and luck over the course of two decades. In Memoirs of a Geisha, her first Hollywood film, she is...

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