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Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 2 » Last Train Home
Last Train Home
LunowDate: Friday, 2011-11-18, 10:51 PM | Message # 1
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Documentarian Lixin Fan follows a couple who, like 130 million other Chinese peasants, left their rural village for work in the city, leaving their children to be raised by grandparents. The husband and wife return only once each year, on an arduous 1,000-mile journey. But their homecoming is not a warm one, as their now teenage daughter, Qin, makes her bitter resentment known and debates pursuing a factory job herself. - from Netflix

China has a migrant labor population of 130 million people.Every year the migrant laborers return home for Chinese New Year. This is the largest migration of people the planet has ever seen, and it happens every year in China. Our Unit 2 deals with the phenomenon of migration, and this movie provides a human face to the realities of life many migrants face.

While the main theme of this movie is migration, it also provides an insight into some of the problems Less Developed Countries (LDCs) face with rapid urbanization and population growth. You will see the extreme pressure that the incredible size of China's population puts on Chinese cities and infrastructure (including transportation). Our Unit 7 deals with urban geography, and while this movie does not address urban issues directly, it does provide a glimpse of what life is like for people living in China today.

This movie also touches on the economic reality of our new globalized world. In the 6th unit we will study economic geography and the new international division of labor. This refers to the way that businesses now build factories in countries like China, where the cost of labor is cheap. You should notice the impact that the need for cheap migratory labor has on the traditional family structure of traditional Chinese society. Our 3rd unit of study focuses on cultural geography, and the movie also focuses on a lot of cultural aspects to contemporary life in China.

In conclusion, this movie places a human face on many of the issues that we will study this year. It is not an up-beat comedy. The movie has sub-titles and provides a hauntingly poignant view of contemporary China.
 
TheAmazingJasonDate: Friday, 2015-04-10, 2:05 PM | Message # 2
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Jason Nguyen - Period 6

In America, we really take advantage of China. We live in a capitalist country and we don't seem to pay any attention to China and their struggles. All we seem to care about is cheap labor. This film clearly depicts the struggles of several Chinese migrant workers. This particular film follows one couple, who left home in order to make money. They only return once a year during Chinese New Year. When returning home, they find themselves under constant stress from the extremely large number of people within China. Cheap migratory labor has deeply affected the traditional society. Most students are dropping out of school in search of work, which will cause a big problem for China in the future. I really enjoyed this film. It is a documentary, but the with all the drama, it didn't feel like one.
 
FriChickeneeshaDate: Saturday, 2015-04-11, 3:10 PM | Message # 3
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Deion Lam - Period 5

Last Train Home is a very heartbreaking movie showing the amount of work people do just to be able to go home to their families. The camera captures expressions and scenes of humanity that speak volumes of the lifelong ordeal of China's migrant workers. It shows how life is very different when we live on the other side of the planet. Before I saw this movie I did not know the amount of work that the workers put in just to make the items that we buy. It is sad to see that the children in this film feel abandoned because of the amount of time their parents put into their work. Overall this film had shaped the way I enjoy things that other people make. Now when I see things that say "Made In China" I will make sure not to take advantage of it.
 
19lphamDate: Friday, 2016-04-15, 11:13 PM | Message # 4
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Lisa Pham - Period 3

    This film, Last Train Home, shows a side of cheap labor most people have only heard of. While many know of the harsh conditions and hours, this showed the effort it costs to get home to family from the city. Unlike how many people can easy catch a flight to the other side in many countries, workers wait days at the train station on these busy days for a ticket home. The documentary follows a couple of workers who have left their homes in rural China to work in the factories in the city. This affects their lives majorly, influencing the time the couple spends with their children and influencing the couple's eldest daughter to pursue a factory job, something the parents wanted to avoid. This leads for the mom to leave her factory job, although conflicted about it, to look after her son and make sure he takes the path she intends for him to take.
    The documentary relates to APHUG as it shows the lives of migrant workers, going home for the holidays then travelling back out to work, as discussed in unit 2. It also shows the importance of being home during New Years especially with the scenes of people cramming in trains for a journey home. This relates to cultural aspects of unit 3. Bits of units 6 and 7 are also features, such as the international division of labor in unit 6 where LDCs like China host cheap cost factories and transportation issues like the people rushing and pushing for train seats of unit 7 from the development of urban cities.
    I would give this documentary a 3.5/5 because even though it was informative, I feel as if it wasn't as interesting as it could have been. The same scenes were shown multiple times, or what felt like the same repetitive scenes. The drama aspect also made it less enjoyable for me personally but overall not a terrible film.
 
21npham2Date: Saturday, 2018-01-06, 11:34 PM | Message # 5
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Nghi Pham - Period 1

The documentary, Last Train Home, shows the life of a Chinese migrant couple. On New Years, the couple along with 130 million other Chinese migrants travel back home to their families. The couple sits in a crowded train for miles and when they returned home, their daughter, Qin begins to think about dropping out and begins to think about working.This documentary is related to AP Human Geography because it shows the lives of migrants. In the film, it shows the struggles the migrants face to board a train to see their family. This is, also, shows the struggles families of LDCs face. Such as, many children having to drop out of school so that they could help out the family at home. In the documentary, the grandmother talks about how she is unable to leave because they needed people to work on the farm land.
 
chingchinglinhDate: Monday, 2018-01-08, 1:14 AM | Message # 6
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Linh Phung - Period 4

The documentary, Last Train Home, broadened my views on the harsh workin conditions in China, which here, in America, we take for granted. Whenever we see a product that is ‘made in China,’ we usually associate it with being cheap and not made of good quality. Behind the scenes, those products are made by impoverished workers just trying to earn money for their family. I don’t think I’ll ever look down on a product made from China ever again; not after watching how hard Qin’s parents worked and how much they sacrificed for their family. I cried a little. :,)

The Last Train Home showcases problems and hardships in LCDs due to the corrupt capitalist economy that China had. For example, Qin’s parents sew clothes every day for copious hours a day, yet they barely earn anything from their job; heck, their bosses don’t even earn that much. Undoubtedly, Qin’s parents would earn at least a decent living wage if only China didn’t take advantage of cheap labour and engaged in the exportation of Chinese-manufactured American products, resulting in unfair wages for Chinese workers, in this case, Qin’s parents. The documentary also depicts the impacts of migrant workers leaving their family. Qin’s parents left her with her grandparents ever since she was born, and was only able to visit Qin once a year on Chinese New Year. Additionally, Qin’s parents communicated with her through phone calls, but since they don’t spend time with Qin, it really leaves little to be said in those brief conversations. This led to Qin growing up resentful and misunderstood her parents’ intentions. Finally, Last Train Home illustrates the difficulties of urban to rural migration. The documentary portrayed the tribulations Qin and her parents faced while trying to return home from their workplace. The family almost got separated among hundreds of impatient, cramped workers all waiting for the train to arrive.

I don’t think the documentary is available on Netflix anymore. I had to watch it through a shady site:(
 
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