What if there was a means for girls to communicate with one another secretly? For ladies to freely specific their innermost sorrows and wishes with out the understanding of males? Such a language exists – and has existed for hundreds of years – in Jiangyong County of Hunan, China.
Violet Du Feng and Zhao Qing’s “Hidden Letters” follows two millennial girls, Hu Xin and Wu Simu, who’re defending the centuries-old language system of Nüshu (女書), which interprets to “girls’s script.” Nüshu is a syllabic script derived from Chinese language characters invented and handed down generationally by peasant girls who had been denied training, had their toes certain, and had been imprisoned by oppressive marriages. “To offer one another hope, they invented a language that males didn’t perceive,” we’re advised within the trailer.
Hu, a museum information, and Wu, an aspiring musician, work to protect the “secret language of sisterhood” towards the ravages of a “perpetually patriarchal society,” the doc’s synopsis particulars. Though hundreds of years have elapsed for the reason that invention of the clandestine script, little has modified within the marital sphere for contemporary Chinese language girls. As one topic reveals within the trailer, “Like within the outdated days of Nüshu, my husband is the king.”
The founding ethos of Nüshu itself, nevertheless, has been corrupted since its heyday. The trailer sees one man presenting a so-called Nüshu cellphone to a bunch of ladies and one other declaring that “Nüshu is about obedience, acceptance, and resilience. So long as girls have these three values we’ll have an excellent society.”
One interviewee, an aged lady, laments the bastardization of the once-sacrosanct language. “Nüshu was about sisterhood,” she remembers. “Our letters to the sisters had been all very non-public, to share our sufferings secretly. No matter it’s now has nothing to do with the Nüshu we had.”
“One piece of recommendation to different feminine administrators is to belief your feminine intuition when portraying such intimate topics. We’ve the good benefit of portraying subtlety and tenderness in our cinematography. However in a male-dominated movie world, I used to be challenged throughout pitch boards [to make] the movie extra issue-oriented and specific,” Zhao advised us in 2016.
Feng and Zhao are cousins and beforehand collaborated on 2015’s “Please Keep in mind Me,” a portrait of reminiscence, love, and dignity following an aged Shanghainese couple as they take care of the implications of Alzeimher’s illness. Zhao directed the doc and Feng served as author and producer.
“Hidden Letters” hits theaters December 9. It premiered at this 12 months’s Tribeca Movie Competition and took residence the Grand Prize for Documentary Characteristic on the 2022 Heartland Worldwide Movie Competition.