I’ve watched a lot of documentaries over the past decade during what has been an exceptional period for non fiction movies. Among the absolute best is “Last Train Home,” which I caught at its IDFA premiere back in November in Amsterdam.
“Babies sleep on their backs on long tables while their mothers sew at machines nearby, workers sit on a large pile of blue jeans as they make more pants, a factory man moves large cardboard boxes emblazoned with the words, ‘MADE IN CHINA’,” I wrote after watching the movie last fall. “A literal sea of humanity try to board a limited number of Guangzhou city trains home for the holiday. Not all will make it.”
“Last Train Home” deserves the many awards it’s already received, not to mention the end of year attention it will certainly achieve.
“Stunningly photographed and expertly constructed, ‘Last Train Home’ features the work of a filmmaker who has immersed himself in the lives of his subjects – the Zhangs – to explore the story of their fractured family,” I added in the iW story. “Many moments in this intimate movie are incredibly striking and ultimately so symbolic of a much broader situation. The drama of the Zhang’s personal story – and their specific struggle to simply get back home for a few days in 2006 – is so poignant that at times the film feels like it must have been scripted for a group of incredibly talented unknown actors.”
Lixin Fan’s exceptional observational documentary captures the dramatic Chinese journey affecting a single family on screen, but representing the dramatic challenges facing a changing nation and a troubled world. It opens this this Friday at IFC Center in NYC and nabbed high profile home page attention from the New York Times this afternoon (see below).
Seriously, go see it.
Photo: Lixin Fan at IDFA. Photo by Eugene Hernandez. More on the film on the Zeitgeist Films website.