Sunday, January 2, 2011

Documentary: Last Train Home (2009)

Last Train Home tells the story, movingly and without narration, of the world's largest human migration, which takes place once a year during the Chinese New Year's holiday. That's when 130 million Chinese migrant workers, many of whom have come from rural villages to work in urban factories, return home to visit the families they left behind.How to tell such a huge story? By focusing on a single family.
It's depressing enough to watch this family's struggles with life. But their pain really hits home when you think that the pants you might be wearing could have contributed to it.

Review from New York Times
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.

Review by Emanuel Levy
This extraordinary Chinese-Canadian documentary illuminates the human price involved in China's ascent into a global economic power: every year over 130 million migrant workers take an arduous journey back home. Emotionally engaging and starkly beautiful, the film offers intimate observations of one fractured family, shedding light on the human cost of China’s ascendance as an economic superpower. It's hard to think of another film that captures so vividly and painfuly the human price paid in the country's rapid process of modernization.

Some notable films made by EyeSteelFilm:
Antoine A film about a very creative blind boy. Watch the trailer.
(if you find a download link let me know)

RiP: A Remix Manifesto A very fun documentary about the remix & mash-up culture and the music industry's reaction to it. Watch the trailer.

Up the Yangtze A film about the collateral damage caused by the building of the Three Gorges Dam.Watch the trailer.

3 comments: said...

Happy New Year 2011.

Anonymous said...

Possible spoiler.

On a bigger scale this documentary is about China transforming from an agrarian society to an industrial one and how families are coping with this.

We have these rural villages with people surviving often with substance farming, maybe a little other income from somewhere juxtaposed against megacities, skyscrapers, endless factories.
How life is changing so quickly in some places yet continues barely changed in others.

The gentle Grandmother still living in another era, teaching the children the older ways, customs, etc. But the children are leading very different lives, westernized, full on, modern, rich.

I just found that so sad.

Anonymous said...


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