MSPIFF: Monday 4/19: Russia and China

Monday was Day 4 of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival.  What is it with the fabulous weather?  Couldn’t it be cold and rainy for once?  I struggled quite mightily through what turned out to be “transportation documentary day”.

  * [Pink Taxi](, Russia.  This was its American premiere, hooray.  I really liked this film.  Of the 3.5 million cars in Moscow, and of the I-forget-how-many taxis in Moscow, about 22 of them are pink.  The drivers are women, and they only carry female passengers.  The drivers are frank about their work lives and their love lives, and their hopes for their futures and for their childrens' futures.  The passengers chat about love, work, kids, the economy.  Good soundtrack.  I was disappointed not to hear more about the business, how it's doing, how fast it's growing.  **Highly Recommended**.  Showing again on 4/22.
  * [The Last Train Home](, China.  Of all the hundreds of millions of migrant workers in China, over 130 million of them returned home only once in 2006, for the Chinese New Year holiday.  It's the largest human migration anywhere.  Except for 2007, when there were even more.  Except that winter storms caused electricity shortages across much of China, stopping all rail service for days.  The film follows a married couple who work in a garment factory in GuangZhou.  Their two children live in the family village 2,100 kilometers away from GuangZhou.  Their 18 year old daughter wants to drop out of school and earn her own money.  Their younger son isn't at the top of his class, which worries Mom quite a bit.  **Recommended**.  Not showing again, sorry.

Hrm, what to see for Tuesday?  Definitely “Mid August Lunch”, since Tuesday is the only showing.  The British film “Looking for Eric” got an indirect recommendation from a friend in London, who said that anything directed by Ken Loach is pretty good.  According to IMDB, he directed “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” (about the Troubles in Northern Ireland) which I liked a lot.