2009 Film – Agrarian Utopia (Uropong Raksasad)

The film is about two debt-ridden peasant families who farm in the land that owned by other people.  Their hard work has only given them small in return. Then these two families must survive by picking beehives, digging ant holes, catching snake and chasing wild dogs. This gruesome reality is juxtaposed to beautiful landscape of the Northern Thailand, where this story is located. This subsistence live is in jeopardy when the landowner is considering selling the land. These two families must move their house and the peasantry to other piece land. There is an offer from hermit-like radical farmer who farm his land in extremely-naturalistic way. “Why do we have to kill any plant when you can get what you need from these?” he pointed his hand into the paddy that lives among the wild grass. His land is open for these families but moving their houses into his land means changing lifestyle. It is not because these families have certain lifestyle to defend, but the demand on being an extreme-naturalist is almost as hard as being survivor. Uropong brilliantly has shown that farming has a holy meaning to farmer’s life.

This is a story where structural problem, namely property ownership, has a tangible effect to human life. But forget about political correctness or Marxist propaganda since Uropong go into something deeper: there is something holy in people’s lives and working is needed to keep that holiness intact. Uropong managed to bring the story of real people by letting his camera blend into those farmer’s lives. Compassion and sympathy to the subject has made this story far from exploitation of poverty or propaganda respectively. Instead, Agrarian Utopia has become a very strong film because its true effort in understanding of human being’s life and struggle.

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