7.7/10
3,170
31 user 62 critic

Gui tu lie che (2009)

Trailer
2:37 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

A couple embarks on a journey home for Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers, to reunite with their children and struggle for a future. Their unseen story plays out as China soars towards being a world superpower.

Director:

Lixin Fan
13 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

At the edge of the Yangtze River, not far from the Three Gorges Dam, young men and women take up employment on a cruise ship, where they confront rising waters and a radically changing China.

Director: Yung Chang
Stars: Jerry Bo Yu Chen, Campbell Ping He, Cindy Shui Yu
Datong (2015)
Documentary | Drama | News
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

DATONG follows the life and work of a controversial Chinese Communist Mayor GENG YANBO to tell the story about how he takes a radical reform to demolish 140,000 households and relocate half... See full summary »

Director: Hao Zhou
Stars: Li Fu, Ma Suying, Geng Yangbo
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing.

Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Stars: Edward Burtynsky
Waste Land (2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro is Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest landfill, where men and women sift through garbage for a living. Artist Vik Muniz produces portraits of the workers and learns about their lives.

Directors: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Vik Muniz
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence.

Director: Steve James
Stars: Tio Hardiman, Ameena Matthews, Toya Batey
Project Nim (2011)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.

Director: James Marsh
Stars: Nim Chimpsky, Stephanie LaFarge, Herbert Terrace
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A profile of homeless Romanian children who were born victims of the nation's reckless population growth policy during its communist era.

Director: Edet Belzberg
Stars: Cristina Ionescu, Mihai Alexandre Tudose, Violeta 'Macarena' Rosu
San zimei (2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three sisters live alone in a small village family house in the high mountains of the Yunan region. Their parents are nowhere to be seen. The three little girls send their days working in ... See full summary »

Director: Bing Wang
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Amy Ziering, Kirby Dick, Kori Cioca
Petition (2009)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

It is a fantastic documentary about Chinese govt's systemic oppression and persecution towards ordinary folk who petition the government.

Director: Liang Zhao
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Broken, desperate men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor risks everything to help them.

Director: Jesse Moss
Stars: Jay Reinke, Andrea Reinke, Alan Mezo
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Changhua Zhang ... Himself
Suqin Chen Suqin Chen ... Herself
Qin Zhang ... Herself
Yang Zhang Yang Zhang ... Himself
Tingsui Tang Tingsui Tang ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

A couple embarks on a journey home for Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers, to reunite with their children and struggle for a future. Their unseen story plays out as China soars towards being a world superpower.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Canada | China | UK

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

9 September 2010 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Last Train Home See more »

Filming Locations:

Chongqing, China See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,207, 5 September 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$285,848, 19 December 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Xiaotu Guaiguai
Lyrics by Zebing Hua
Recorded and Performed by Lijun Zheng
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Push! Don't Push!" (voices from the crowd mounting a train)
10 March 2010 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

'Last Train Home' is a particularly sad and wearying example among a number of documentaries about human upheaval and the destruction of traditions and family values in today's China. A hundred and twenty million Chinese workers in far-flung places hurry back home every Chinese New Year, a vast temporary "migration," and the only time in the year divided families are reunited. Using the microcosm approach, the Canadian-Chinese filmmaker Lixan Fan chronicles the vicissitudes of this massive journey and the impact of separations for the rest of the year by latching onto one small family, the Zhangs, who come from a farm in a remote area. The parents of two children, Chen Suqin and her husband Zhang Changhua, left sixteen years ago to earn money to support the kids working in the big industrial city of Guangzhou in the south.

The family was dirt poor, the grandmother tells us. She and her late husband were left with the task of raising Chen's and Changhua's daughter Qin and younger son Yang. Yang is in school, fifth in the class, which his parents don't like. He should be number one. "I don't want to work too hard," he says. What does he care? His parents only come to tell him this once a year, at the time of that vast New Years "migration." Yang, Qin, and their parents aren't often in touch. They don't have cell phones.

In the case of teenage daughter Qin, the resentment is huge. She outspokenly declares that her parents abandoned her for most of her young life and she can't forgive them for this. She feels the country is a "sad place." This leads to the deepest irony of the film because she quits school to go away and work first in a garment factory, later in a cocktail bar in a boom town. This despite the fact that the purpose of her parents going away to work was so she and her brother could rise above peasant or laborer status through better education. It doesn't look like Qin is going to do that.

Yang is in middle school. Those words of his justifying fifth place in class, however, show that he, like Qin, is probably abandoning the traditional values of hard work and sacrifice -- values that fueled China's economic boom, but now are being undermined by it. Because of the boom, evident everywhere, even the poorest of the poor are seduced by glitzy fantasies of easy wealth and giddy fun. And the enormous displacements caused by the boom in themselves make the Chinese family structure grow weaker.

The film seamlessly follows Qin and her parents and documents several of the New Years migrations. The trip begins with days of struggle to get tickets and the last trip teeters on the verge of becoming a humanitarian disaster. Masses of people wait in the station for five days, herded by cops. This is when Chunghua has gone to see Qin and persuade her to come back with them. He and Suqin are hoping Qin will go back to school. Instead, perhaps because of the enormous stresses of the journey, the film descends into Jerry Springer territory upon arrival and in front of Grandma and the camera father and daughter have a huge verbal and physical fight. Qin addresses her father in foul and abusive language and he beats her, and she strikes back. Later Qin goes elsewhere and the film shows her briefly working in a huge noisy cocktail bar, which is crudely contrasted by rapid crosscutting with the parents' numbing sweatshop work and the quietude and beauty of the farmland from whence they all came. The cocktail waitress phase recalls another Canadian documentary about China, Chang Yung's award-winning 'Up the Yangtze,' a film on which Lixin Fan, a Canadian who immigrated from China, worked as associate producer, translator and sound recordist. 'Up the Yangtze' focuses on human upheavals caused by the Three Gorges Dam, as does Jia Zhang-ke's fictional 'Still Life.' Another semi-documentary about social change in China that has earned much praise is Jia's '24 City.'

Nothing can equal the magic of 'Still Life' or Jia Zhang-ke's other films about modern China. The family interchanges in 'Up the Yangtze' were similar to 'Last Train's,' but were more subtle and hopeful. The impression that remains from Lixin Fan's film is the sullen defiance of the children and the weariness in the parents' faces, and the skillful documentation of the horrific crowds cramming into holiday trains. A documentarian sticks with his or her subjects, and Fan does this faithfully, but one may perhaps be forgiven for wishing a more interesting, articulate family had been chosen. Because there is no narration, you would have to read the press kit that goes with the film to know that the Zhangs were prevented by law from taking their children with them; that migrant workers like the Zhangs are cruelly discriminated against; and that a large number of them, perhaps a third, are girls 17-25 years old, like Qin.

A few brief interviews with young men on the migrants' New Years train are glimpses of a broader view. One man says he works at a place stringing tennis rackets for all the major foreign brands, but that China has no tennis racket brand of its own. We are just a country of suppliers, he says, and we get paid the minimum price. Despite its boom economy China is still full of very poor, exploited people: the whole country is like one giant exploited migrant worker .

'Last Train Home' won the Best Feature-Length Documentary award at the 22nd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and was nominated for a similar award at Sundance. It was shown at the March-April New Directors/New Films series at Lincoln Center and MoMA in New York.


26 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 31 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed