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A Song of Love, Maybe

Zhang Zanbo

Release year: 2010

Run time: 114 mins

Film type: Documentary


This is a troubled love story from a woman’s perspective. A KTV waitress is involved in a relationship with a customer who had come for pleasure and relaxation. However, this relationship has been plagued from the very beginning by lies, desire, impetuosity, confusion, and pain. The brightness and darkness of human nature, the warmth and coldness of the city, stage themselves alternately and continuously, just like those vulgar pop songs the girl had grown so familiar with while working in the KTV’s private rooms.


Director biography

Zhang Zanbo is an independent filmmaker in China. He graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 2005 with a Masters degree, and later established Asymptote Films. Consistently focusing on individual dignity and living conditions in a rapidly developing China, his documentaries have won many awards at international film festivals. His work has been reported by and reviewed in such international media outlets as The New York Times, The Economist, National Public Radio, and NHK.

He is also a freelance non-fiction writer, published in Taiwan and mainland China. His book The Road in traditional Chinese was awarded “The Best Book of 2014” by The China Times. Later, Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou presented the 2015 TIBE Book Prize to the author and the book. At the end of 2015, the simplified Chinese version of The Road was selected as the best book in the Sina Good Book Prize. As the book provoked intense discussion in the media and among the general public after its publication in mainland China, it was banned and denied further sale and reprint after two months. The publishing house was severely punished because of its inappropriate publication of this book.

Director's statement

Through the love story of this girl, I intend to expose certain complex but universal traits of human nature, especially the common confusion of emotions and feelings experienced by city-dwellers. Also, the film reveals a little bit of helplessness, a little bit of sorrow, and a little bit of anger towards the times and society that have caused this confusion. The title, A Song of Love, Maybe, indicates the place where the story originated (a KTV) and a characteristic of the protagonist’s identity. Furthermore, there are pop songs sung in karaoke joints interwoven through this story to help to compose this song of love and existence—although it may as well be seen as merely an elegy for that.