“We had free souls when we were girls.” This evergreen sentiment was written in a secret script, passed down from mother to daughter for centuries in China, forming bonds of sisterhood and survival. Those secrets are finally translated in Hidden Letters, Violet Feng’s new documentary explores the history and future of Nüshu.
It was a secret script created and shared by Chinese women that men could not understand. Hidden Letters sheds light on the patriarchal expectations of women in modern China and serves as a reminder that women have a lot to learn from our ancestors.
Mazzy Oliver Smallwood, The Austin Chronicle
The film is an understated, extraordinary voyage, especially for those who’ve only experienced China through the kaleidoscopic lens of news and entertainment. It’s a contemplative journey between two powerful and conflicted women, providing a considerable amount of backstory on the language and the evolution of Chinese social progress. It soon expands far beyond a pair of microcosms to explore the whole of women in the modern world, and what we ultimately walk away with is a tale of opposites. Even while these women are praised by colleagues and family for their contributions to Chinese culture because of their studies with Nüshu, we just as often see how these women and this definitive language are undervalued, misunderstood, and misused.
Matthew Roe, Film Threat