Last Train Home

Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers journey to their home villages for the New Year’s holiday.This mass exodus is the world’s largest human migration—an epic spectacle that reveals a country tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.

Working over several years Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Lixin Fan (Up the Yangtze) travels with one couple who have embarked on this annual trek for almost two decades. Like so many of China’s rural poor, Zhang Changhua and Chen Suqin left behind their two infant children for grueling factory jobs. Their daughter Qin—now a restless and rebellious teenager—both bitterly resents their absence and longs for her own freedom away from school, much to the utter devastation of her parents. Emotionally engaging and starkly beautiful, Last Train Home’s intimate observation of one fractured family sheds light on the human cost of China’s ascendance as an economic superpower.

Official selection Sundance Film Festival.

“A filmmaker whose guile and courage with the camera can seem almost magical... Mr. Fan’s documentary is informed by a melancholy humanism, and finds unexpected beauty in almost unbearably harsh circumstances. It 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.” - The New York Times

“Frequently moving and quietly enlightening, Last Train Home is about love and exploitation, sacrifice and endurance.” - NPR

Runtime: 85 min. In Chinese with English subtitles. Watch trailer here.

Last Train Home is being shown in conjunction with Visions of Humanity: 20th Century Chinese Art from the Gerry and Leslie Jones Collection on view Dec 5 – Apr 14.

Cost: FREE for Museum Members, $5 Non-members. Tickets available soon!

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