Last Train Home tells the story of how every spring in China’s cities are plunged into complete chaos, as a wave of millions attempt to return home by train. The event is the Chinese new year and is made up of millions of migrant factory workers.
The Chinese are heading home to the rural villages and families they left behind to seek work in the booming coastal cities. It is a unique spectacle that gives us an inside view of China, and how many are discarding traditional ways as it develops into a global economic dominance.
An emotionally charged and visual visually beautiful documentary created by filmmaker Lixin Fan. The documentary explores the fractured lives of one migrant family as they get caught up in this desperate annual migration. The Zhangs abandoned their young children 16 years ago to seek work in the city, with the hope that their wages would improve their children’s lives. But in a bitter irony, the Zhangs’ hopes for the future are undone by their very absence.
Qin Zhang, one of the children left behind, has grown into adolescence crippled by a sense of abandonment. In an act of teenage rebellion, she drops out of school, inevitably she will also become migrant worker. Qin’s decision is a heartbreaking blow for the parents. The film follows the Zhangs’ attempts to change their daughter’s course and repair their ruptured family.
It’s a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China, identifying with the Zhangs as they navigate through the stark and difficult choices of a society caught between old ways and new realities. Can they get ahead and still undo some of the damage that has been done to their family?