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Last Train Home-Movie Review *** 09/19/2013

Posted by dbinder in Asia Pacific Film Awards, Chinese language film, Documentary, Genie Awards, Movies, News and Documentary Emmy Awards, Sundance Film Festival.
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Last Train Home (Chinese) 2009 ***

Documentary film
Directed by Lixin Fan
Starring Zhang Changhua, Chen Suqin, Zhang Qin, Zhang Yang, and Tang Tingsui

Among other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Documentary Feature Film, Asia Pacific Screen Awards
WINNER, Best Documentary, Genie Awards
WINNER, Emmy Award-Best Documentary and Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting-Long Form, News and Documentary Emmy Awards
NOMINATED, Grand Jury Prize, World Cinema – Documentary (Lixin Fan), Sundance Film Festival

This documentary film illustrates the damaging effect of migrant work on several generations of a family. Changhua and his wife, Suqin, who work in the big city, try to return to their home in a rural area of China for the annual Chinese New Year holiday. The parents, who have lived away from home since their children were born, must join the throngs of others trying to get to the countryside at the same time. They will wait for expensive, crowded, and infrequent trains at the Guangzhou Train Station.

Director Lixin Fan has managed to capture some very honest reactions, especially from the rebellious teenage daughter who has also moved to the big city. We learn about the deplorable living and working conditions of the migrant workers, as well as why they left their home and who is left behind there.

Highly recommended.

87 min. Not rated. Suitable for teens.


Tulpan-Movie Review *** 09/04/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Asia Pacific Film Awards, British Film Institute Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Comedy, Kazakh/Russian language film, Light Drama, Movies, Sergey Dvortsevoy.
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Tulpan (Kazakh/Russian) 2008

*** Highly recommended.

Among many wins and nominations:
WINNER, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival
WINNER, Best Film; NOMINATED, Achievement in Directing (Dvortsevoy), Asia Pacific Film Awards
WINNER, Sutherland Trophy, British Film Institute Awards
WINNER, Muhr Award, Best Actor (Kuchinchirekov), Dubai International Film Festival
WINNER, Feature Film Award, Montréal Festival of New Cinema

Directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy

Starring Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Ondasyn Besikbasov, and Tulepbergen Baisakalov

On the desolate Hunger Steppe in Kazakhstan, Asa (Kuchinchirekov) is looking for love and learning to be a shepherd. He gets questionable advice from Boni (Baisakalov), his good friend, who has gold-capped teeth and a fun-loving attitude toward life.

Asa is living in very close quarters with his sister Samal and her family, including her three endearing children; Samal’s husband Ondas (Besikbasov) is equally determined to see Asa set up his own household. Prospects are limited. The mysterious (and never seen) Tulpan is the only young woman in the region available for marriage, but she reportedly doesn’t like Asa’s big ears.

In this very funny, joyous, and touching story, viewers get an up-close and personal look at life on the harsh steppe, to the point of seeing sheep as they give birth and even get CPR of sorts from their human caretakers. A very worthwhile film and highly recommended.

100 min. Not rated. Younger kids might not want to watch some of the animal scenes.