Posts Tagged ‘last train home’

PBS “POV” Lists Essential Documentaries About China

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Disorder (dir. Huang Weikai) tied for most mentions in PBS' poll of essential documentaries about China

Last month the acclaimed documentary Last Train Home, about migrant laborers in China, made its US television premiere as part of the POV series on PBS. As part of the film’s online promotional efforts, POV polled several filmmakers and experts in Chinese cinema to recommend top documentaries and features about China. We were pleased to see that Disorder tied for most mentions among all films, including a recommendation by Last Train Home director Fan Lixin. Fan writes of Disorder: “A powerful and utterly honest mishmash of the most bizarre images from contemporary Chinese society, with an almost cynical sarcasm. I’ve never seen anything quite like it!”

Other documentaries receiving multiple recommendations: Petition by Zhao Liang, whose Crime and Punishment is distributed by dGenerate, and Up the Yangtze by Yung Chang (who also took part in the poll). Strangely, Blind Shaft also tied for most mentions in this “documentary” poll, even though it is a narrative feature.

Not surprisingly, Jia Zhangke was the most recommended filmmaker, with six mentions spread across five titles. His documentary Dong is distributed by dGenerate.

All the recommendations can be found at the POV website on PBS.

Chinese Train Doc Leaves Tracks at Sundance, Stirs Criticism at Home

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Fan Lixin, director of Last Train Home (Photo by Nan Chalat Noaker/Park Record)

One of the most acclaimed films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival is Last Train Home by Lixin Fan. Already the Best Feature Film winner at last November’s International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Last Train Home chronicles a migrant-worker couple in Guangzhou trying to get on a train back to Sichuan to see their kids during the Chinese New Year, the busiest and most impossible travel period in China. Ella Taylor of NPR calls it her “favorite film of the festival, bar none… Watching this devastating portrait of a family trying to glue itself back together, you wonder how China, on its way to becoming the world’s richest nation, will avoid civil war if it doesn’t also attend to the needs of the millions of poverty-stricken families like this one.”

More info (including backlash from China) and video trailer after the break.

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