Last Train Home

Genre:  Documentary, Drama
Running Time:  90 min.
Release Date: December 4, 2009 (limited)

Current rating: Rating: 3.67
based on 6 votes and 2 reviews
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Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival is the most important holiday in the lunar calendar. It remains the last stronghold of Chinese traditions that are withering rapidly with the invasion of new values. Each year, hundreds of millions of migrant workers return to their homes from the city to the rural countryside, throwing the transportation system into utter chaos. For many migrants, the cheapest and fastest route home is by train. People camp at railway station for tickets, climb through windows, stand for days and nights, wear diapers to avoid using the lavatory, and struggle to stay in sanity to survive the ride. They are determined to return home at any cost for the solemn purpose of getting back to see their families.

The Zhangs left their ancestral village and their one-year-old daughter to find work in Guangzhou city 16 years earlier. The couple toils in a poorly ventilated, dimly lit garment factory to make money to pay for their daughter's schooling. The Zhangs never complain because they don't have a choice. To have her educated is the only way to give the daughter a better life in the future. Now their daughter is 17, and she only gets to see her parents once a year at the Spring Festival. The rebellious teenager feels lost and neglected since her parents were away all these years. She is convinced that her parents care more about making money than taking care of her. Thus, she quits school, comes down to Guangzhou city, and becomes a young migrant worker, which is exactly what her parents were trying to avoid.

Living in the same city but not talking to each other, the family is shattered by years of misunderstanding. The old tradition of parents making self-sacrifice to better the life of children is brutally challenged by the new social reality. Good will may not always have good result. Nevertheless, hope always sprouts from despair. This Spring Festival, the mother decides to bring the family once again to embark this migrant odyssey to go back. Her mission is to reunite the family and to get the daughter back to school. Love and sacrifice didn't triumph for the past 16 years. Will it succeed this time?

Director: Lixin Fan
Studio: KinoSmith
Producer(s): Mila Aung-Thwin, Daniel Cross
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  • 5 stars "Very moving and beautifully shot film."
  • 5 stars "I was born in GuangZhou, China, where this movie was made. This is a really good movie, telling people a true story about the financial poor people working in the China big cities. I wish more people will watch this movie, to learn the truth about these poor chinese."