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Wisconsin Film Festival 2010
Agrarian Utopia
Agrarian Utopia
Sawan baan na
(Thailand, 2009, 122 mins, digital video)
In Thai with English subtitles
Midwest Premiere
directed by: Uruphong Raksasad (IMDB)
cinematographer/editor: Raksasad
sound: Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr
producer: Pinpaka Towira
cast: Prayad Jumma, Somnuek Mungmeung, Sai Jumma, Nikorn Mungmeung
It may be filled with breathtaking high-definition imagery of the Thai countryside, but the title of this vision of hardscrabble rice farmers is bitterly ironic. Collapsed onto the same rice paddy by far-removed political machinations, two families eek out an existence without the benefit of modern farming equipment. Despite the bountiful fields and backbreaking work, prices are so low (and banks so predatory) that the farmers are eventually forced to subsist on wildlife. Though it looks and feels for all the world like a documentary, the catch is that it isn’t – at least not exactly. Shot on rented land with a nonprofessional cast doing work that mirrors their actual lives, Agrarian Utopia blurs fact and fiction to create larger, more complex portrait of farm life than originally meet the eye. The son of farmers, director Uruphong Raksasad captures his vibrant homeland with an eye worthy of Terrence Malick. “While Agrarian Utopia may seem unusually humble in scope, the clarity and depth of its vision is tremendous, offering both the hardship and unsentimentalized joys of daily life.” – Senses of Cinema. 2009 Rotterdam, Viennale, Vancouver Film Festivals.
Screening Schedule
Sun | Apr | 18 | 1:45 pm
Chazen Museum of Art
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Marco plays in the Shorts: Saturday Night @ Monona Terrace program at 9:15pm on Saturday, April17.

Tibet in Song starts at 3pm on Saturday, April 17.

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