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International Competition 2019
Noodle Kid Huo Ning

Fourteen-year-old Ma Xiang leaves his home and works in a foreign metropolis as a noodle puller to pay off his father’s debts. Work is hard, growing up is hard.

Noodle Kid

Documentary Film
107 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Han Lei
Huo Ning
Huo Ning, Zhang Jiahao
Huo Ning, Han Lei, Shih Gary
Shen Hancun
Ma Xiang is fourteen years old and lives with his family in Hualong in the Chinese province of Quinghai. They belong to the so-called Hui Chinese who, unlike the Han Chinese majority of the country, consider themselves Muslims. At school Ma Xiang recites the Koran and visits the mosque. But in order to work off his father’s debts, he is sent to a far away city he doesn’t know, where his uncle Ma Yusuf operates several noodle restaurants. He is to be trained as a noodle puller. Life and work in the strange city are hard, Ma Xiang is badly paid and Islam is frowned upon. He is forced not only to take off his takke, his traditional hat, but also his glasses, because Ma Yusuf thinks that wearing glasses and making noodles are incompatible.

Huo Ning follows Ma Xiang’s journey which is also a journey to adulthood. The important thing is to find one’s place within an extremely patriarchal system and at the same time preserve one’s independence. Because Ma Xiang, whom we already got to know as a sensitive boy at the beginning of “Noodle Kid”, isn’t easily dominated. Too unbroken is his self-awareness, which also includes the desire to make contact with his mother who left Ma Xiang’s family many years ago.

Carolin Weidner