Back in August I attended a film screening on the roof of the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus. It was one of the last in a summer series done by Rooftop Films on top of the the warehouse, using a giant screen to project in front of temporary seating with a beautiful view of the surrounding Brooklyn night. The film was Last Train Home, an excellent and really heart wrenching movie about migrant workers in China who take the train home once a year to see their family. Lixin Fan, the director, was there for questions following the screening.
I was really amazed by the footage in the film. Fan follows a family of four, trailing the parents through the massive crowd in the train station, switching to shots of the two children in the quiet and practically abandoned village, a beautiful economic dead end. The parents work in a factory sewing clothes (I definitely started to think about the clothes I was wearing while at this screening, likely made in some distant factory). One of the few comical moments is when a fellow factory worker holds up a huge pair of pants, marveling that there could be someone that fat somewhere in the America (oh, there are many someones). It was interesting, too, that these migrant workers are people who were moved from the city to the farm by the government, and now must return to the city, shifting their lives with the global economy.
Last Train Home has been opening around the country, so definitely check it out if there’s a screening near you. I’m glad I was able to see it, especially in such a cool location.