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A Girl Sings Along Without Knowing the Words is a film essay that wonderingly documents a sequence of city memories in Flushing, Queens. It follows multiple thematic threads, such as the nuanced understandings of ‘home’ and ‘hometown’ in the context of nomadic belonging, the divisions within a community that was formed out of a need for togetherness, and expressions of what Svetlana Boym calls “diasporic intimacy.”

The title, A Girl Sings Along Without Knowing the Words (from a poem by Mei Mei Berssenbrugge), gestures to the unique experience of immigrants, especially the first generation, who must adapt with only a vague conception American culture. The film, which meanders through the Flushing Chinese community’s micro-malls, crowded downtown streets, and suburban residential blocks, speaking to its residents along the way, is an act of careful observation, subjective remembering, and transcendental wondering, backed by the musical improvisations of Painting Club (Trisha Baga, Herb Tam and Lu Zhang) and the catchy techno-pop that drives Chinese public plaza dancing (广场舞).

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A Girl Sings Along Without Knowing the Words film screening documentation
at Royal Queen, New Word Mall, Flushing, New York.
2021
A Girl Sings Along Without Knowing the Words, 29:37min
2019-2021