Sun Jan 22, 2:00 PM
Director: Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing
China, United States, Norway
86 minutes
All Ages

Keepers of the secret language developed by generations of Chinese women.

For centuries in Jiangyong County in China’s Hunan Province, women had their feet bound and were expected to follow the Confucian Three Obediences of strictly following orders from their fathers, husbands and sons. In response they developed a written script, Nushu, that men couldn’t understand, to share their intimate thoughts and write poetry and songs. This special documentary follows two modern women who keep the practice alive and face all too familiar challenges. Hu Xin, a guide at the Nushu museum, seeks to become an expert at the written script after her marriage break-up. Wu Simu, a music teacher and Nushu student in Shanghai, is about to marry into a conservative family. As quietly powerful and melodic as the traditional Nushu songs, Violet Du Feng’s directorial debut exposes ongoing gender inequality with graceful anger.  

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.” (Austin Chronicle)

“In their very moving documentary, directors Violet Du Feng and Qing Zhao show how generations of Chinese women found cracks in their oppressive, patriarchal society and created a way to find a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak existence.” (AWFJ Women on Film)

This screening is part of the Adelaide Film Festival Curate Your Own Festival program. 
Unique in Australia, Curate Your Own Festival builds screen culture in regional towns by developing local curatorial skills. Every Festival, AFF invites four emerging regional curators to spend four days at the Festival to select films to take back to their town. Find out more here.

Program Strand Documentary Competition, OzAsia
Age Recommendation All Ages
Language Mandarin Chinese
Subtitles English
Director Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing
Producer Violet Du Feng, Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, Su Kim, Jean Tsien
Editor John Farbrother

Screens with: CWA: Judgement Day

Mon Jan 23, 2:00 PM
Director: Marion Pilowsky
7 minutes
Unclassified 15+
In a non-descript building in Canberra, Australia’s capitol city, a group of women gather for a top secret initiation. To become a judge for the Country Women’s Association of Australia. Many will try, few will triumph.

Filmmakers in attendance.

Film Type Documentary, Short
Program Strand Shorts Before Features
Language English
Director Marion Pilowsky
Producer Georgia Humphreys