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Hidden Letters

Documentary Competition

World Premiere

FEATURE | China, Germany, Norway, United States | 86 MINUTES | Chinese, Mandarin | English subtitles


Women, Documentary, Art

For thousands of years, women in China, 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. Filmmaker Violet Feng captures small revealing moments with gentle grace, culminating in a powerful resonance that lingers. —Andrea Passafiume

Co-hosted by:


Directed by Violet Feng

Violet Du Feng is an Emmy® winning documentary filmmaker and a 2018 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. Her producing credits include Singing in the Wilderness, Confucian Dream, Maineland, and Please Remember Me. Her career started as a co-producer on the 2007 Sundance and Peabody winner Nanking. Hidden Letters is her directorial debut. 

Violet Du Feng
Zhao Qing
Violet Du Feng, Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, Jean Tsien, Su Kim
Violet Du Feng, John Farbrother
Tiebing Feng, Gao Wei
Chad Cannon, Leona Lewis
John Farbrother
Executive Producer
James Costa, Ken Pelletier, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen, Jaeson Ma, InMaat Foundation
Associate Producer
Yiqian Zhang, Juefang Zhang, Daniel Chein, Eric Tu, Fred Grinstein
Tanja Georgieva-Waldhauer, Betsy Tsai
Xin Hu, Simu Wu, He Yanxin


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David Piperni
Cargo Film and Releasing
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Phone: 2129958139
International Sales Contact
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Cargo Film & Releasing
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Press Contact
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JMP Verdant Communications
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