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Last Train Home

Each spring, 130 million migrant workers in China journey home to their villages for Chinese New Year. LAST TRAIN HOME reveals a nation tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.

Director: Lixin Fan
Year: 2009
Time: 85 min

 Gui tu lie che
(2009) on IMDb

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US: JustWatch
Other Ways To Watch

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Ways to Influence

Share this film with others so that they may also be moved and enlightened by the Zhang family and the plight of migrant workers in China.

Check out the other films that Lixin Fan has worked on: UP THE YANGZE and TO LIVE IS BETTER THAN TO DIE.

Support The World Justice Project’s China Migrant Justice Project.

Learn more about the factories and workers that produce some of your favorite consumer items.

Related Articles and Resources

China’s cites: The Great Transition

“The government is right to reform the ‘hukou’ system, but it needs to be braver,” says The Economist.

The Chinese government’s urbanisation plan wants 60% of people living in cities by 2020 with 45% to have full urban hukou. But there are two main areas where it falls short.

Why Chinese Migrant Workers Are Abandoning the Country’s Top Cities

The Atlantic reports on the “tide of return” (huixiangchao) in China.

Roger Ebert Review

“This is inevitable: Painful social conflict will arise between those Chinese citizens who produce consumer goods for the world, and those Chinese who want to consume them.”

Read full review on Roger Ebert:

PBS video interview with the filmmaker

In this PBS video interview,  Lixin Fan discusses the inspiration behind his film LAST TRAIN HOME. He describes the family that is at the center of the film, and the challenges he faced while filming them.

Filmmaker Magazine Interview with Director Lixin Fan

“After all, we all live in this global village, and our lives are connected. Stuff is so cheap here in the States, way cheaper than what you’d need to spend in China for the same product. Why is that? Someone has to be paying the price. Not just working long hours in poor conditions but being separated from their families for an entire year.”

Read more in Filmmaker Magazine.

A Family Caught in the Wheels of China’s Industrial Locomotive

“The crush of faces, possessions and umbrellas looks almost like an abstract composition, until you are in the middle of it, at which point it becomes chaotic and overwhelming. In what looks almost like a random encounter, Mr. Fan zeroes in on two individuals, a married couple whose travails will provide a painful, local illumination of a huge and complicated social phenomenon.”

The New York Times has the full story.

Can China’s New Urbanization Plan Work?

“Bringing people to the cities will not be enough. Rural rights also need reform.

“It is odd to witness the Chinese government pinning its hopes for growth on increased urbanization. For decades, the distinctive feature of China’s urbanization model has been its bias against settling rural-to-urban migrants in the cities, a bias created via the hukou system.”

Read more in The Diplomat

Factory life far from home leaves China’s migrant workers vulnerable

Research suggests that 58.5% of migrant workers suffer from depression, 17% from anxiety, and 4.6% have considered suicide. The majority of workers left behind aging parents or young children.

CNN examines the emotional toll of job migration, particularly in China.


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