Hidden Letters


Wednesday 8 March 17:00, Studio/K + Intro
Thursday 9 March 19:00, Rialto VU

Introduction on March 8 will be given by artist Jessie Yingying Gong

For centuries, women in China were forced into oppressive marriages and forbidden to read or write. They developed a secret language among themselves known as “Nüshu.” Nüshu brought together generations of Chinese women in a system of storytelling invented to express solidarity.


In modern-day China, two women are connected by their passion for this unique language. After her marriage has fallen apart, Xin, a museum guide in Jiangyong, is eager to master the ancient language. Simu from Shanghai is a fan of music and Nüshu, but marital expectations continue to pressure and distract her from her passions. In a culture where patriarchy persists, the two women struggle to forge their own paths in life.


In this compelling documentary, director Violet Du FENG focuses her lyrical lens on the protagonists’ modern lives in relation to Nüshu, emphasising the contemplative and optimistic pulse of sisterhood contained in this centuries-old form of writing, passed down from ancient times to the present.

Violet Du FENG
HU Xin WU Simu HE Yanxin
China, US, Norway, Germany
International Feature Documentary Prize, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

Violet Du FENG

Violet Du FENG is an Emmy Award-winning film producer and director. Her producing credits include Confucian Dream (2019), Maineland (2017), and Please Remember Me (2015). Hidden Letters is her directorial debut.

ZHAO Qing (co-director)

ZHAO Qing is the director of the award-winning documentary Please Remember Me (2015). She started her career at Shanghai Media Group in 1991, where she directed and produced many television documentaries.