Don't miss this Train
LAST TRAIN HOME (Lixin Fan) Rating: NNNN
Beautiful, enraging and heartbreaking, Last Train Home puts the spotlight on China’s working poor.
Every year, Suqin Chen and Changhua Zhan join the planet’s largest human migration, of 130 million people. At the new year, the two leave their big-city factory jobs and the tiny cubicle where they sleep to be reunited with their families in a remote village over 2,000 kilometres away.
This hard-working pair left for the city 16 years ago for only one reason – to provide for their families. But they’ve sacrificed any connection with their own children, leaving them, especially their 16-year-old daughter, Qin, with a profound sense of abandonment and palpable anger.
Director Fan contrasts China’s smoggy cities and near idyllic remote villages with a confident eye.
The core of the film, however, is a violent family argument back home, made all the more upsetting by Fan’s spectacular account of what it took for the two workers to get there.
The sequence tracking a sea of people on a long trek, made more gruelling by a power outage that’s messed with the train schedule, is like nothing you’ve seen before.
A must-see meditation on the human price the Chinese pay for the cheap goods we consume. The movie gets a wide release in late Februrary, but at these Doc Soup screenings (Wednesday, January 20, at the Bloor), Fan hits the stage to do Q&As.