Thai director Uruphong Raksasad was born as a farmer’s son and continued to show interest in farmers and farming-related issues. Agrarian Utopia is about two debt-ridden families that are forced to grow rice on someone else’s land. Jumma and Mungmeung’s families both work hard, but since they’re not landowners, what they get in return is very small. In order to feed themselves, they must dig ant holes, pick beehives, catch snakes, and hunt wild dogs. The beauty of the country – the green grass, the red glow of the setting sun – offer a striking contrast to their grueling reality.
Raksasad takes an unflinching look at their circumstances surrounding the families. Not that he lacks any compassion for his subject; he is just showing the harsh realities of the 21st century as they are. For the people, talks of political change and environmental philosophy are all meaningless. A heartbreaking and powerful film that melds together the beauty of the country with the weight of labour and hunger. –Viennale
Updated through 6/10. Colin Beckett: "Whether by design or circumstance, this June has become Thai Cinema Month in New York, with an array