The Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest

Viv Li (director)



Animated boobies of a 30-year-old Chinese woman force her to confront her family and society about her upbringing as a boy, her confused sexuality, and her cultural identity, meanwhile reflecting China’s rapidly changing recent history. The film is a hybrid documentary about femininity, memory, family, and the habit of silencing.

Project Description

Li, is a 30-year-old Chinese woman, but she still knows nothing about sex. What’s worse, Li’s parents raised her as a boy. She had short hair, boy clothes, played with all the tough boys in the hood and nobody knew she was a girl. It surprisingly worked fine until "two mountains" growing out of her chest. Her breasts thus became the beginning of all the confusion. However, she had nobody to turn to, because “those things” were not to be talked about, ever.

Years later, after she has lived in different countries, Li is still troubled by her breasts and her sexuality. Is it cultural? Is it the lack of communication or education? Or is it simply personal? Someone has got to start talking about it.

She decides to trace back to her memories and her native China to find out, what has made her suffer from the supposedly most beautiful and pleasing things for women? Following Li’s personal story through the years with her breasts, gender confusion and her role as a woman, the film will reflect the influence of onechild policy, gender inequality, sex education, globalisation, life in diaspora and the seemingly absurd sex culture in China historically and today.

In this film, Li will visit her childhood memories through archives, conversations and animation. Breast animation will be the inner voice and narrator throughout the film. She will also gather all her courage to initiate conversations with her mom, her grandma, and her late great-grandma, in the mean time weaving out her own coming-of-age story. She will ask them about their experiences as a women in their own time, about body, about sex. All of them represent a different generation of women in China. Great-grandma had bind feet and married when she was 15. Grandma was a farmer under the communist rule and suffered a lot. Mom enjoyed the opening of China to the world and became a business woman. Li will also bring in her friends to take a look of the rapidly changing world of modern China. Plastic surgeries, breast implants, club culture, marriage deals have all changed.

Conversations and encounters with women from different generations will provide a close look into a collective memory of what it means to be a woman in China. Through the roles of breasts, sexuality and femininity, The Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest provides a provocative examination of Chinese society. It is not only a humorous conversation about an unspeakable topic throughout history, but also a confrontational look into the habit of silencing in China.

Viv Li

Viv Li is a Chinese filmmaker born and raised in Beijing. In the past 10 years, she has lived in Manchester, São Paulo, Barranquilla, Mexico City, Manila, Lisbon, Brussels, Budapest and Berlin. She did standup comedy, poetry, fashion, short films, boxing, and some eco-toilet designing. She loves hotpot, tea, tomato curry, peanut butter and okra. Her films have quite long titles such as I Don’t Feel At Home Anywhere Anymore, which received a special mention at IDFA, and She Dyes Her Hair Pink, awarded Best Short Documentary at Porto. Her shorter titles, All Our Nights was a Silver Eye Award Nominee, and Across the Waters, was selected in InterFilm Script Pitch. Currently, she is working on her first feature debut, The Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest. Viv is a Berlinale Talent and recipient of Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. She has a Master degree from DocNomads and a Bachelor in Drama from University of Manchester. She enjoys working between different genres, cultures and use humour as a tool. She likes to joke, but please take her seriously.

Project Index

Abo Zabaal Prison 1989



Baby Jackfruit

Baby Guava

Children of the Mist

Concrete Land

The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine


Just Another Year

Love Song. Pastorale

Loving Martha


The Mother of All Lies

Oh Father I don't Want to Hate You

The Soil and the Wings

The Two Mountains Weighing Down

My Chest