Last Train Home

Lixin Fan

"We work far away from home, and our parents and children stayed behind in the village. But if a family cannot even be together to celebrate the New Year, then what’s the sense of life?" These are the words of one of the many Chinese workers that every year travel from the new industrial areas to their villages in the province. Quietly observing and without passing judgment, Lixin Fan has portrayed the ups and downs of such a family during two years. Sixteen years ago, her parents left the poverty-ridden country to try their luck in the new economic areas, while she was raised by her grandparents. Now they are working overtime in one of the countless dull factories that provide the western world with cheap clothes. The hardest part, though, is the trip home to celebrate the New Year. It is staggering to see the crowd gather before the railway station. The couple has to stand in line several days to buy a ticket. Chaos is complete when a snow storm disrupts the railway traffic. In the end, they always get there. But will they also manage to keep the family together, and will the money they send home allow their daughter and her little brother to study? Painful moments reveal that the Chinese long-suffering has its limits.
Last Train Home won the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary 2009.


Lixin Fan
Daniel Cross
Country of production
China, Canada
85 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Eye Steel Film
World Sales
Cat & Docs
Dutch distributor
IDFA Bertha Fund