In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our team favourites? Let us know your thoughts!
#37 - Last Train Home
The world’s largest regular human migration takes place every Chinese New Year, as 130 million migrant workers in China make their annual trip home to their villages. Montreal-based documentary filmmaker Lixin Fan captures the chaos, desperation, emotional stress and pure unsettling spectacle of this annual exodus to beautiful effect in Last Train Home.
Fan travelled for several years with one couple, Changhua and Sugin Zhang, who left their children behind as babies to earn money at the factories – they only get home to see their kids for these few days each year. Fan is an unobtrusive filmmaker and is granted unfettered access into the family’s lives – the result is an affecting, pellucid glimpse inside the lives of China’s working class that packs a real emotional punch.
Shot in cinema verite style, Last Train Home is a portrait of a country stuck between its rural past and its urban, industrial future as it rapidly ascends to global superpower status, as well as an indictment of the government’s methods of luring cheap rural workers into the cities’ factories.
But it’s also a personal story of one family, and particularly the journey of teenager Qin Zhang, whose desire for financial freedom leads her to ditch school (to her parents’ despair) and take up the same life of factory work that they’ve struggled to help her avoid.
- Tim Mall
“Tells the story of a family caught, and possibly crushed, between the past and the future - a story that, on its own, is moving, even heartbreaking. Multiplied by 130 million, it becomes a terrifying and sobering panorama of the present.” A.O. Scott - New York Times
To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.