Last Train Home

Director Lixin Fan
Genre Documentary
Runtime 85 minutes
Supplier EyeSteelFilms
Festivals/Awards Best Feature Documentary - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2009
Release Date In theatres on November 20, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray available on March 1, 2011


Every spring, China's cities are plunged into chaos, as all at once, a tidal wave of humanity attempts to return home by train. It is the Chinese New Year. The wave is made up of millions of migrant factory workers. The homes they seek are the rural villages and families they left behind to seek work in the booming coastal cities. It is an epic spectacle that tells us much about China, a country discarding traditional ways as it hurtles towards modernity and global economic dominance.

Last Train Home, an emotionally engaging and visually beautiful debut film from Chinese-Canadian director Lixin Fan, draws us into the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in this desperate annual migration. Sixteen years ago, the Zhangs abandoned their young children to find work in the city, consoled by the hope that their wages would lift their children into a better life. But in a bitter irony, the Zhangs' hopes for the future are undone by their very absence. Qin, the child they left behind, has grown into adolescence crippled by a sense of abandonment. In an act of teenage rebellion, she drops out of school. She too will become a migrant worker. The decision is a heartbreaking blow for the parents. In classic cinema verité style, Last Train Home follows the Zhangs' attempts to change their daughter's course and repair their ruptured family. Intimate and candid, the film paints a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China. We identify 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?

Best Feature Documentary - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2009

Official Film Site


Press & Articles

“Don’t Smirk, Sundance’s Roots Do Show ” - The New York Times

“Doc on migrant workers powerful” - Toronto Sun

“Taking the last train home” - Chicago Sun-Times

“A transfixing journey” - The Boston Globe

“'Last Train Home' Review” - Chicago Sun-Times

“Last Train Home: The high price of low-priced Chinese goods” - The Toronto Star

“An intense and tense time” - The Globe and Mail

“‘Last Train Home’ provides deft look at modern China” - Capital Times

“Verite documentary 'Last Train Home' is simple but searing stuff” - Times-Picayune

“A family copes with China's modernization” - Philadelphia Inquirer

“'Last Train Home' Review” - Playback:stl

“HONOR ROLL 2010 | "Last Train Home" ” - Indiewire

“DGA Nominates Five for Outstanding Doc” - Indiewire

Last Train Home

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