Private Project


Transgender stand-up comedian Lady Lin has been using her identity as the punchline in performances to acquire attention, yet she is discontented with her approach.
One day, her estranged older brother shows up, informing her of their mother’s recent death. His appearance brings back the pain she suffered when she was disowned by their parents seven years ago. Her loneliness pierces through her glamorous facade.
Touched, she decides to visit her hometown, only to learn the truth - her parents lied to everyone that she had died years ago to conceal her identity. Disillusioned, she turns around and leaves resolutely. Lin’s only hope of reconciliation with her family is through the self-deceptive fantasies she performs onstage.

  • Badou Zhao
  • Badou Zhao
  • Qiongdan Zhang
  • Jiahui Wu
    Key Cast
  • Chenyang Zhao
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    27 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 31, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Beijing Film Academy
Director Biography - Badou Zhao

• Badou Zhao, male, born April 1998, Taurus.
• EDUCATION: Graduated from Beijing Film Academy (Class of 2020) with a bachelor’s degree in screenwriting, having written and directed several short films and documentaries.
• Interested in observing the everyday life of ‘extreme’ characters and the ‘extreme’ emotions of everyday people.
• WORKS: 2017 short film “Le Bateau Ivre” 2018 documentary “PEK”

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

As the film title ‘Truthless’ implies, I wanted to present a small episode in the life of a person who is used to lying to themselves and others. People with such complicated nature often struggles between two worlds — the reality versus the self-made fantasies.
There are two groups of people I observe that both share this characteristic to varying degrees: transgender people and stand-up comedians. So I combined these two identities into one single character that embodies the duality.
Lin Yuezhen or ‘Lady Lin’, the protagonist of the film, is highly ambivalent in two ways: on one hand, she has multifaceted personality, displaying toughness on the outside yet clearly has unmet emotional needs, still dwelling on the trauma of the past. She desires truth, but eventually abandons it. On the other hand, I was not set on resolving the character’s struggles or forcing a reconciliation. She is trapped in her own dilemma throughout the film, with no proper solution at the end.
I am also inspired by a phrase that comes up a lot in this recent pandemic - “asymptomatic carrier”. I believe that most people have suffered pain and trauma, but they live their lives carrying this pain “asymptomatically” through their daily struggles.
I completed this film bearing the above two insights in mind - ambivalence and ‘asymptomatic’ pain.