"Last Train Home" - The Video Documentary Of The Human Cost Behind China's Stunning Growth Story

Tyler Durden's picture

We all know that China has the biggest skyscrapers, the fastest growing economy, and the emptiest cities in the world. We also know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. And with every economic success story, no matter how engineered, manipulated, or contrived, comes a human cost. The 2009 documentary by Lixin Fan, "The Last Train Home", is just one such attempt to capture the "human element" behind the glitzy headlines and the 9% GDP growth. The quite synopsis: "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 traveled 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 native village of Huilong in Sichuan province 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. She eventually leaves school, against the wishes of her parents, to work in the city. Emotionally charged and starkly beautiful, Last Train Home examines one fractured family to shed light on the human cost of China's ascendance as an economic superpower." We bring the documentary in 6 parts to our readers in hopes of a greater understanding of the dynamics behind the world's biggest economic dynamo.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6