Last Train Home (film)

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Last Train Home
Last-train-home-lixin-fan.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lixin Fan
Produced by
Starring
  • Yang Zhang
  • Changhua Zhang
  • Suqin Chen
  • Qin Zhang
Music by Olivier Alary
Cinematography Lixin Fan
Editing by Yung Chan
Studio EyeSteelFilm
Distributed by Zeitgeist Films
Release dates
  • November 22, 2009 (2009-11-22) (IDFA)
Running time 85 minutes
Country Canada
Language Sichuanese Mandarin
Box office $288,328(USA)

Last Train Home (simplified Chinese: 归途列车; traditional Chinese: 歸途列車; pinyin: Guītú Lièchē; literally "Homeward Train") is a 2009 documentary film directed by Lixin Fan and produced by Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin of EyeSteelFilm. It won the Best Documentary Feature at 2009 IDFA and has been distributed by Zeitgeist Films in the US.

Synopsis[edit]

Every spring, China's cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers travel back to their home villages for the New Year's holiday. This exodus is the world's largest human migration, an epic spectacle that exposes a nation tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.

Working over several years in classic cinéma vérité style, director Lixin Fan travelled with one couple who have embarked on these annual treks for almost two decades. Like many of China's rural poor, the Zhangs have left their native village of Huilong in Sichuan province and their newborn daughter to find work in Guangzhou in a garment factory for 16 years and see her only once a year during the Spring Festival. Their daughter Qin, now a restless and rebellious teenager, bitterly resents her parents' absence and longs for her own freedom away from school and her rural hometown, much to the dismay of her parents. She eventually leaves school, against the wishes of her parents, to work in the city. Emotionally charged and starkly beautiful, Last Train Home examines one fractured family to shed light on the human cost of China's ascendence as an economic superpower.

In a March 2010 follow-up interview, director Lixin Fan reveals that the Zhangs are still working in the factory and Qin telephoned, but did not visit, for the New Year.[1]

In September 2011, Fan said that Qin was now a vocational student in Beijing, and that while Qin's mother is back on the farm, her father still works at the factory.[2]

Subjects[edit]

  • Changhua Zhang ... a father
  • Suqin Chen ... a mother
  • Qin Zhang ... a teenage daughter
  • Yang Zhang ... a young son

Awards[edit]

Reception[edit]

Last Train Home is certified "fresh" with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, earning the Golden Tomato award for best limited-release and best foreign film.[5]

Manohla Dargis of the New York Times picked Last Train Home as one of the most outstanding works from the 2010 Sundance by characterizing it as "a beautifully shot, haunting and haunted large scale portrait." [6]

Film critic Roger Ebert praised the film for its depiction of conflict in one family as they struggle to improve their quality of life; giving the film four out of four stars. He concluded that due to the film's depiction of the effects of capitalism on the country that "[t]he rulers of China may someday regret that they distributed the works of Marx so generously."[7]

Praising Last Train Home as "a documentary masterpiece," Brian Brooks of IndieWIRE asserts that "filmmaker Lixin Fan may very well be one of modern-day China's great non-fiction storytellers." [8]

Critics of IndieWIRE placed Last Train Home at "top four" in its list of Top Ten Competition Films of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.[9]

Last Train Home is one of the top five films nominated for Directors Guild of America Documentary Prize to be announced Jan 29, 2011 at the 63rd annual DGA Awards Dinner.[10] It lost this award to Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job."

Lixin Fan was interviewed by Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC radio program "The Current", on Jan 19th, 2011 talking about Last Train Home.[11]

Release[edit]

Last Train Home was released on American screens on September 3, 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lam, Kempton (March 24, 2010). "Interview with Lixin Fan, director of "Last Train Home"". Examiner. 
  2. ^ "Film Update". September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ The Globe and Mail: "Canadian documentary wins international prize"
  4. ^ 2010 Award Winners - RiverRun International Film Festival
  5. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes: 2010 Golden Tomato Award". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  6. ^ Dargis, Manohla (2010-01-29). "NY Times article". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  7. ^ "Last Train Home". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  8. ^ "IndieWIRE review". Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  9. ^ "IndieWIRE 2010 Sundance Top Ten List". Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  10. ^ Kilday, Gregg. "'Inside Job,' 'Last Train Home' Nominated for DGA Documentary Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  11. ^ "China's Annual Migration". CBC News. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 

External links[edit]