Film: Songs of Rice, The / Pleng khong kao (2014)

April 24, 2014 | By


SongsRice_poster_bFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  n/a  Extras: n/a

Label: n/a

Region: n/a

Released:  n/a

Genre:  Documentary / Hot Docs 2014

Synopsis: Cinematically ravishing portrait of the rice harvest throughout rural Thailand.

Special Features:  n/a




One of Asia’s most vital staple foods is followed from planting to harvesting in director / cinematographer Uruphong Raksasad’s visual tone poem. A hefty chunk of the film’s tight running time is devoted to harvest festivals, with events spanning bull races, expansive dances, singing, religious offerings, and an insane set of fireworks (more like unguided missiles and flying wagon wheels) which are launched above densely packed spectators.

Raksasad sticks to a handful of rural towns in his native Thailand, relying on images and an assortment of cultural sounds to convey the social joining tied to the cultivation of rice. English subtitles are applied sporadically and there’s no preamble explaining the events in various harvest festivals nor their precise locations, but this is a truly ravishing work. Raksasad’s camera hovers, dances around and immerses viewers in the middle of the festivities, blending slow-motion footage with high-speed shutter settings to capture the sharp details of assorted screen movements, and yet Songs of Rice ultimately lulls viewers into a peculiar state of calm as they witness rarely seen facets of Thai culture.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
IMDB  —  Hot Docs 2014 Listing
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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