The migrant worker has been receiving much attention in the US lately, with Stephen Colbert testifying before Congress on the issue just a few weeks ago. Yet America is not the only place where migrant workers try to get by; in fact, as one might expect with such a massive population, China has a far greater migrant worker population than anywhere else on Earth. It is these Chinese workers, and the implications of the system in which they operate, who are the subject of the documentary Last Train Home. Join RA’s John and Zack to see this film on Monday evening at IFC. Tickets are free only if you sign up in the Resource Center, and space is limited to only 8, so sign up now! We’ll be meeting in the lobby Monday (10/18) at 5:45 pm, but let us know if you have a late class and would prefer to meet us over at the theater. Here’s a quick synopsis of the film, from the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia:
Every spring, China’s cities are plunged into chaos as 130 million migrant workers travel back to their home villages for the New Year’s holiday. This mass exodus is the world’s largest human migration, an epic spectacle that exposes a nation tragically caught between its rural past and industrial future.
Working over several years in classic cinéma vérité style, director Lixin Fan travelled with one couple who have embarked on this annual trek for almost two decades. Like many of China’s rural poor, the Zhangs have left their Chinese village and their newborn daughter to find work in Guangzhou in a garment factory for 16 years and see her only once a year during the Spring Festival. Their daughter Qin, now a restless and rebellious teenager- bitterly resents her parents’ absence and longs for her own freedom away from school and her rural hometown, much to the dismay of her parents. Emotionally charged and starkly beautiful, Last Train Home examines one fractured family to shed light on the human cost of China’s ascendence as an economic superpower.