Last Train Home

Last Train Home

Each Friday, we share a selection of viewer comments relating to the week’s film.

This week, viewers posted their reactions to Last Train Home, a heart-stopping journey with the Zhangs, a couple who left infant children behind for factory jobs 16 years ago, hoping their wages would lift their children to a better life.

Read reactions from Facebook, Twitter and the Last Train Home film companion site

“I’m a Chinese American who lived in China for three years and witnessed many of these crowded train stations first hand. This film perfectly captures the frustrations of these people, not only in trying to get home, but their role in China’s rapid modernization. There is no right answer as to which way of life is better.”

“Just watched incredible documentary #LastTrainHome on PBS. I will never complain about crowds again, at least until tomorrow.”
@furthermt (via Twitter)

“@PBS this documentary is scary in a sense, they make 2000 yuan and save 1800 if we make 2000 we spend it all if not more”
@Drewski2Steel (via Twitter)

“I came away from the film thinking… ‘And we complain here in America’ about our roads and having to wait and some of our living conditions? I wondered why they didn’t all stay on the farm where it was peaceful and tranquil. Still work, but the farm life seemed easier than the factory life. The grass is not always greener on the other side!”
Kathy Provencher Packard (via Facebook)

“Watching this reminds me of similar change in this country as the social fabric of America was torn apart when farmers abandoned the agricultural life and piled into the cities searching for better opportunities in the factories.”

“@povdocs very impacting, couldn’t stop watching it long enough to tweet, tough generational gap, I could so feel for both parents and kids”
@SuperDigiMom (via Twitter)

“As I watched, I could see much of my daughter in Qin. This could have been my daughter’s life. We adopted her from China many years ago. I can remember being there, when I adopted her, and thinking “this could be her life.””
China Dad

“A telling comment was that life would have no purpose if the parents could not return to be with their children for the Chinese New Year. In the end it seemed clear just how empty of a purpose that is.”

“The struggle this family endures is an all too familiar story. Our children in the US do not want to stay on the farms their parents and grandparents worked for years… As middle aged adults, we can see both sides of the story. There are no easy answers; but we find ourselves asking how much the west plays a role in the fast decline of the eastern culture. Are we not driving the need/want for all the products that come from China, such as the garments the parents in this film work night and day to produce?”

“This documentary really brought home to me the fact that parents and their teens are the same the worldover. Rebellion and conflict between them and the parents desire for their children to do better than them. This is our story too!”

Watch the Trailer

Watch Last Train Home free online for a limited time, and tell us what you think about this program on the Last Train Home companion site, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Emily Thomas is a Fall 2011 intern with POV Digital. She's interned at Esquire magazine and Vice magazine. Currently Emily is finishing her senior year at NYU, where she is double majoring in journalism and social & cultural analysis. She is also a freelance journalist and aspiring documentary filmmaker.Her top five documentaries are:1. Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders)2. Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh)3. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff)4. Dont Look Back (D A Pennebaker)5. Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston)