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The Songs of Rice
(Pleng khong kao)

Directed by Uruphong Raksasad .
Thailand, 2014, DCP, color, 75 min.
Thai with English subtitles.

Uruphong Raksasad concludes his agriculture trilogy (Stories from the North, Agrarian Utopia) with a visual record of the lifecycle of Thailand’s most important and symbolic crop: rice. Focusing less on narrative and more on the visceral experience surrounding the farming, The Songs of Rice, as the title suggests, features the use of music and songs that chronicle the growth of rice, from cultivation, to harvest, right through to the moment when it is consumed. However, the songs in this film do not merely act as a soundtrack or accompaniment to the motion picture, rather, they document a traditional practice in which Thai farmers would sing to their beloved crop: the songs they sing were written for the rice. Raksasad, who himself came from a rice-farming family, presents this fascinating practice at the core of his artful study. The result is a masterfully crafted aural and visual tribute to rice and the people who cultivate it.

Introduction by Haden Guest and Anocha Suwichakornpong.

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