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Directed by: Violet Du Feng, Qing Zhao (co-director)

Runtime: 89 min

Year: 2022

Country: China

Rated: Not Rated

Language: Mandarin

Subtitles: English

Film Type: Documentary

Featuring a Q&A moderated by KUER's RadioWest host Doug Fabrizio with director Violet Du Feng via zoom

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:
KUER 90.1RadioWest

Through The Lens series funded in part by:


Best Norwegian Documentary - Bergen International Film Festival 2022, Grand Prize - Documentary Feature Heartland International Film Festival 2022, Special Jury Award - Nordic / Docs 2022, Docmentary Feature Jury Winner Audience Award Feature Film - Austin American Film Festival 2022, International Documentary Grand Jury Prize Matt Decample Audience Choice Award - Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival 2022

Official Selection:

BFI London Film Festival 2022, Tribeca Film Festival 2022, Heartland International Film Festival 2022, Docedge Film Festival 2022


Spotlight Award Nominee 16th Cinema Eye 2023

Wednesday, February 8 @ 7:00 PM

In Person |

The City Library


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