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Chinese, 2008/01

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The Train to My Home Town(DVD) 開往家鄉的列車 (DVD)
Ai Xiaoming 艾曉明

At the beginning of 2008, when the Spring Festival was around the corner, the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway, the major traffic line that links South, Central and North China, was interrupted suddenly and many trains on this line were forced to stop indefinitely. Eager to get home before the Eve of the Spring Festival, thousands upon thousands of inland migrant workers congregated at Guangzhou Railway Station and waited for the trains bound for their homes......

The Guangdong Provincial government immediately started a preparatory emergency program of the highest level for the Spring Transportation. For the first time, the halls of the Guangzhou Import and Export Fair were transformed into temporary havens for the stranded migrant workers, volunteers were activated to offer services for them, and the Guangzhou Military Area Command dispatched soldiers to repair the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway in northern Guangdong. <br><br>
However, because passengers had been waiting for days for trains that did not arrive, their level of irritation began to intensify. A 17-year old woman named Li Hongxia was killed when she was trampled by the flood of people. A man named Li Manjun, who was returning home to remarry, received a severe electric shock when he jumped from the viaduct to the top of a train, resulting in his death.

"The train to my home town travels to a paradise." ...... Li Hongxia's grave lies quietly in a field of wheat in her hometown. Li Manjun's son, nearly 12 years old, prayed that his deceased father could bless him with good marks in Chinese and Mathematics, so he can enter a university in the future. When being asked, "what do you wish to do after you graduate from university", the boy gave us an unexpected answer......

As an independent filmmaker, Ai Xiaoming is concerned with the needs of the marginalized people. In order to record the scenes and stories that happened during the Spring Transportation, she went to Shenzhen, Shaoguan, Ruyuan, as well as the villages in Jianli, Hubei Province and Yueyang, Hunan Province -- the hometowns of Li Hongxia and Li Manjun, respectively. The documentary presents the expectations of Guangdong's migrant workers, the good wishes of their relatives at home, the ice-snow disaster relief efforts made by the government, and how the police and the migrant workers got through the hardships together. Let us review these scenes and consider what we need to do to ensure better spring travel next year.







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