Xiao Jia Going Home

By Damien Ounouri

Xiao Jia Going Home

At a time when the mainstream media seem to be focused on the rapidly expanding cities in China, this film looks back at life in the provinces through the eyes of Jia Zhang-ke, the leading and controversially discussed figure of the “Sixth Generation” filmmakers in China. Young independent filmmaker Damien Ounouri returns with Jia to the small town of Fenyang in the province of Shanxi, where he was born and where the stories of his first films emerged. The very charming and down-to-earth presence of Jia and his sensitivity for the locations of his films make this journey a poignant inquiry into the past of the director’s life and Chinese society at the same time. Ounouri ingeniously integrates clips from Jia’s films and yet the overall effect is far from being a “making of”.

Xiao Jia Going Home


Rather, this documentary is a real cineaste road movie back home, giving the viewer a glimpse into the daily life for the majority of Chinese people that is rarely reported. A cleverly composed and intuitively edited documentary, evolving into a passionate investigation of the memory of cinema.

Linked to Xiao Jia Going Home, Jia Zhang-ke’s latest feature 24 City (2008) is programmed at DOKU.ARTS.

  Xiao Jia hui jia
France 2008, 53min. Video
Chinese. Subtitles: English

Screenplay: Damien Ounouri
Cinematography: Matthieu Laclau
Sound: Li Danfeng
Editing: Chan Yu Chieh, Damien Ounouri
Production: Damien Ounouri for Li Hua Films

Damien Ounouri was born in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Xiao Jia Going Home is his first documentary, produced with his independent cinema group Li Hua Films. In coproduction with Liliana Diaz Castillo he made the documentary ChangPing, Sonata of a chinese small town, that was shot in China parallel with Xiao Jia Going Home. Ounouri is currently working on Fidaï, a feature documentary on the Algerian independence war and his family history.