The story of two Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. For thousands of years women who were often forced into oppressive marriages and forbidden to read or write, shared a secret language among themselves called Nushu. Written with delicate strokes made from sharpened bamboo sticks dipped in ink, Nushu bonded generations of Chinese women in a clandestine support system of sisterhood and survival.
Fast forward to contemporary China, where two modern women are connected by their fascination with Nushu. In Jiangyong, Hu Xin works as a Nushu museum guide and aspires to master the ancient script following the breakup of her marriage. In Shanghai, Simu is passionate about music and Nushu, but archaic expectations threaten to end her pursuit of both. Influenced by Nushu’s legacy of female solidarity, the two women struggle to find balance as they forge their own paths in a culture steeped in female subservience to men. Offering a unique lens through which to view women’s equality, this fascinating film also explores the increasing commercialization of the deeply private Nushu language in direct opposition to its heart-wrenching origins.
Through The Lens series presented in partnership with:
Through The Lens series funded in part by: