Uruphong Raksasad's Agrarian Utopia is in the competition at the Barcelona Asian Film Festival, which runs from April 30 until May 10.
Here's the synopsis:
Uruphong Raksasad, whose 2006 debut Stories from the North attracted favorable reviews on the festival circuit, should with his latest work Agrarian Utopia choose to tackle his country's problems in such an uncompromising and direct fashion. Though the title evokes the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, who tried to create an equal society based on rural cultivation, Raksasad intent is to capture a long-lost tradition that is slowly vanishing. Shot around the filmmaker's village in Chiang Rai, in order to show how a muddy rice paddy is tilled throughout the seasons, he even rented a piece of land. He offered local farmers the yield if they would work it in the traditional way. Without machines, without electricity and with no profits in mind. It looks so ordinary, yet it is fiction. No matter how much the world is evolving, how much the country is going through economic, political and social changes, they still cannot grasp that ideology of happiness.
The film continues its festival run, following screenings in Rotterdam (where it won a NETPAC mention), Hong Kong, the recently wrapped-up Singapore fest and the current Jeongju International Film Festival (where it's also in competition).
The Barcelona fest has a heavy contingent of Southeast Asian films. There's Edwin's Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly (censored in Singapore) and the Malaysian musical comedy Sell Out! (good reviews from Singapore, and due to open in Malaysia) and Brillante Mendoza's Serbis also in competition. There's the Focus on Southeast Asia section and two Filipino Cult Movies from 1980, Katorse and Temptation Island.