Last Train Home first played in the Washington area during SilverDocs. I missed it there but caught it tonight at its one-cinema (possibly one-week) run at E Street. Made in China by a Canadian company, the documentary tells the story of a family separated by the parents having to leave their beautiful rural home to find work. They are part of the huge migrating class of Chinese, most of whom are allowed to go home just once all year, during the Chinese New Year. The conflict comes with the two kids and the pressure they face to do well in school and escape the hard lives of their parents. The cinematography in this film is spectacular; what a gorgeous and complicated country this is! Last Train Home is not exactly a feel-good movie; but it shows that things are not predictable anymore even in rural China. (A clever scene earlier in the film shows the parents bringing their daughter a cell phone. The world is a much smaller place these days.) Given the scenery, if you can catch this film in the theater, I recommend you do so. Otherwise, put it on your Netflix queue.
Today's Tip: Star author Jonathan Franzen will be giving a reading at Lisner Auditorium this Friday at 7 pm and it is free. Politics and Prose, of course, is the sponsor. Franzen's new book, Freedom, has been the talk of the literary world of late. For anyone who read his amazing first book, The Corrections, this is a big event.