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The Things I Have Never Told You

Yuan Xun

Release year: 2024

Run time: 19 mins

Film type: Documentary


Unbeknownst to her family, Xinyi (28) is the lone Chinese comedian in Lisbon's English- speaking stand-up comedy scene.The film intertwines Xinyi's on- stage persona and her true self, using first-person narration to unveil the struggles of a female immigrant behind the laughter.the film offers a candid exploration of the intersectionality of her identity, shedding light on the nuanced challenges posed by her gender and ethnicity . Her narrative serves as a poignant reflection of the broader experiences shared by many immigrant women, providing a window into their resilience and the often-overlooked hurdles they confront on their journey to find belonging and acceptance.


Director biography

Xun Yuan, originally from Northeast China and now based in the Netherlands, is a documentary director and cinematographer. He pursued a major in Cinematography at the Communication University of China, and his BA graduation film, "The Muslim Emigrates Called Return," won the China Documentary Academy Award for Best Student Film and the Best Documentary Director Award at the Beijing College Student Film Festival. In 2021, Xun Yuan embarked on a new journey in documentary filmmaking and began exploring opportunities in Europe. The Docnomads master program provides an international environment for him to further develop his independent thinking and artistic expression. During his studies, his films, "Daniel," "The Legend Of A Sacred Deer," and "The Things I Have Never Told You" were selected for the Visions du Réel Film Festival's VdR-market session. "The Things I Have Never Told You" was also selected in the CinemAsia film festival in the Netherlands and won the Jury Award in the 2nd Chinese Film Festival Hamburg. Xun Yuan's goal is to blend Eastern and Western cultures to create a unique artistic expression in his films. He is committed to developing a broad perspective on documentary filmmaking and using his skills to tell captivating and thought-provoking stories.

Director's statement

During my time studying in Europe, I gradually began to reflect on my own culture and explore how to tell stories about China and the Chinese people to European audiences. The lives of Chinese people in Europe have long been on the sidelines of social and cultural discussions. People's impressions of them often remain rooted in stereotypes or biased media portrayals. Despite Chinese immigrants and students being scattered throughout Europe, their lives and thoughts are rarely widely acknowledged by local societies. I began to ponder how, as a creator, I could use audiovisual art to convey this situation and reach a wider audience. During this period, I started to discover Chinese comedians in European countries. In my view, the essence of our creations is fundamentally the same, albeit with differences in the mediums of dissemination and artistic expression. When I met the protagonist, Xinyi, she was eager to share with me her experiences of trauma during her upbringing in China and the discrimination she faced in Portugal.I hoped to present a more comprehensive perspective on the thoughts and struggles of a Chinese woman living in Europe, hidden behind her comedic sketches. Xinyi's life in the film is separated, struggling, and undergoing reshaping. In a sense, she has gained freedom, but this freedom has plunged her into a state of incongruity due to the distance from escaping the confines of a patriarchal family and being ensnared in racial discrimination. She discovered that the freedom she thought she had gained was a product of cultural emptiness, and during the pandemic, she keenly felt the unrelenting pain of no longer being seen as an invisible entity. Can her performances truly challenge cultural biases, or conversely, reinforce stereotypes?