Project Description

Stammering Ballad | 말더듬이 가수왕 (2018)

A young Chinese folk singer leaves his hometown for the big city, only to find himself slowly returning to his roots. On this journey, his humor, anger and powerful folk songs all grow from the soil and dust of his deserted hometown.

3 decades ago, with the help of United Nations, thousands of population of a remote village was relocated from the desert to the banks of the Yellow River,
nearby a city, while most of their local ballads and folk music that had been sung for generations were lost. But this young man, who got stammered since childhood, learned many folk songs to treat his stutter. The treatment was failed, but he became crazy about the folk music of his homeland.
For last 7 years, He stayed away from home to make a living as a touring singer. Wandering through hundreds of cities, he became more and more popular and was invited to appear before a whole nation in China’s Got Talent show. But at a critical moment, he decided to quit and return home. But there’s nothing left in his homeland, as seeing the rural life entirely vanished, he has to learn how to deal with his angry homesick.

“Zhang Nan’s camera is quite thorough in the presentation of Ga Song, as he has followed him quite closely in almost all the aspects of his life, as it also depicts images of extreme beauty, mostly in the rural areas of the country. In contrast, the scenes in the city highlight the ugliness of the scenery, in a tactic that extends to Ga Song, who seems to get no break when he finds himself in an urban setting. Eventually, this contrast, along with the fact that Ga Song cannot stay in the place he grew up for financial reasons but cannot stand the city, forms one of the basic axes of the film, as it also symbolizes the life of many Chinese who experience the same situation. …..   Probably the production’s best asset is the sound recording, with Ga Song’s voice being clearly heard in locations that range from huts, to bars and clubs, to the huge place where the talent show takes place, without any kind of loss in the quality. This aspect highlights his impressive voice, with his high notes being particularly enjoyable.”  – Asian Film Valut 
Director ZHANG NAN
Production company Pango pictures
Presented by  CNEX Studio Corporation | BODA Media Group | Communication University of China | Shenzhen Ming Culture communication Ltd
Shooting Format   UHD | 3840*2160 | 25p
Screening Format    DCP | Digital
Sound 5.1 Surround | Stereo
Length   110′ | 60′
Genre  Documentary | Music | Human Interest
Year of Production 2018
Language  Chinese
Subtitles English | Korean
With Support of  Korea Communication Agency | National Geographic Channel Korea

Director’s Statement

It is a journey of searching his own soul from the country to the city and back again.
A stuttering young boy who speaks with difficulty may not directly express his feeling about losing home; but as a director who comes from the same place, and stayed away for years, I find we share the same problem. Gasong’s anger comes from the strength of the wild poetry in country life. He tries to bring the vitality of these rural values into the city with his music, but how can he succeed while most of younger generation leave their home village, abandoning their local identity, struggling to adapt to the impersonal forces of modern urban life? In China, and one might say in all developing countries in Asia, we are facing the same impact of over-urbanization. I hope this film can remind us of the lost beauty inherent in the rural life, and to suggest that everybody stop for a moment and think about who we really are, and what kind of life do we want to live.

– Nan Zhang, Director


WORLD PREMIERE  | International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018 

Best Pitch Award in CNEX Chinese Doc Forum 2015 
Best Chinese Project in Asian Side of the Doc 2015