Best Movies by Farr
Last Train Home Poster
Released Runtime Category
2009 90 Documentary, Foreign Language
Director Language
Lixin Fan Mandarin
Changhua Zhang, Suqin Chen, Qin Zhang, Yang Zhang

Last Train Home

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What's it About

Every New Year, millions of migrant workers in China overload the country'’s transportation systems in effort to make it home to celebrate with their relatives. It is the largest annual human migration on the planet. Documentarian Lixin Fan hones in on married couple Chen and Zhang, as they struggle to make the thousand kilometer journey back to their children, Qin and Yang. On arrival, this rare family reunion becomes fraught, as the teenaged Qin chafes against her family'’s desire for her to get an education. Beyond just adolescent rebellion, it’'s evident the seeds of her defiance may lie in a long-felt sense of abandonment. And then, all too soon, the parents must leave their kids once more.

Why we love it

First-time filmmaker Fan stunningly captures the changes wreaking havoc on a massive, rapidly modernizing society through the microcosm of one poor family from the laboring classes. Almost literally a “fly-on-the-wall” portrait, his camera captures the Zhangs at moments so painfully intimate, you’'ll marvel at the director’'s closeness to his subjects. Watching the parents in transit is particularly revelatory; this agonizing ordeal, akin to the herding of cattle, is an affront to human dignity. This is one sobering and unforgettable look at contemporary life in China few Westerners would otherwise see. A must.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"