8th DMZ Docs(2016)
I AM DOCU
This is a visual record of rice culture and its influences on the people in different parts of Thailand. The lyrical structure of this documentary film reflects the melodies in the songs of rice, crafted and composed by the diverse harmonies of the people who may sing in different voices but who share the same heart. This is the final movie in the rice trilogy that began with stories from the north and agrarian utopia.
The Song of Rice is the third film of Uruphong Raksasad who came into the spotlight along with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the representative director of Thailand, since his first feature debut Stories from the North (2005) and Agrarian Utopia (2009). It is a last work for his ‘rice trilogy’ dealing with ‘rice’, ‘farm village’ and ‘lives of the people living in there’. He has been working on the border between documentary and film drama. While he films the documentary with dramatic elements in Stories from the North and the film drama in documentary style in Agrarian Utopia, he puts his affection of Thailand farming area as well as sharp criticism on capitalism into the films. But his latest documentary The Song of Rice focuses the ‘people living with rice’ rather than criticizes capitalism. By ‘loosening strict thinking’, he chose to make a documentary in order to ‘show what is behind the recording process’ by linking successive images recording reality. The director arranges daily lives of rural farm village of Thailand in a warm perspective as he intended and combines them to catch a narrative. This cinematic rhythm goes with rich and delicate sounds which complete a poem-like hymn film containing rice, basis of Asian humankind for a long time, people’s lives living with rice and nostalgia about all these things. [Jo Ji-hoon]
Agrarian Utopia (2009)Stories from the North (2006) The feeling lingers, and my thoughts on rice remain vivid. Even after I’ve told the stories of rice and rice people in the movies, Stories from the north and agrarian utopia, I feel the urge to keep going, to get back to the rice paddies, and to dispel the shreds of anxiety that cling inside. Any filmmaker who’s set out to do a trilogy would never find peace of mind unless he finishes all the three films, otherwise it’s impossible for him to move on to another project. The third film must be completed so the curtain can be drawn. Whether I will return to visit the story of rice again in the future remains to be seen.