Agrarian Utopia, cinema of in-between-ness and the Vertov legacy

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This article explores a filmmaking practice at the borders of fiction and non-fiction; a practice that goes by different names, including cinema of in-between-ness. It looks closely at the filmmaking practice of Thai filmmaker Uruphong Raksasad and the second film in his Rice Trilogy, Agrarian Utopia (Sawan Baan Na, 2009). This film challenges categorisation as observational documentary, ethnographic film or fictional narrative. The article demonstrates that Raksasad's practice is linked to the earlier practices of Dziga Vertov and Jean Rouch. In their films, Vertov and Rouch demonstrate a commitment to the real as the fount of cinema, to the detailed observation and careful recording of life that passes before the camera. But they also insist on treating the real with cinematic inventiveness and experimentation. The article discusses Vertov, Rouch and Raksasad's attitudes to in-betweeness and how it impacts their practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-42
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Documentary Film
Issue number1
Early online date29 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Hybrid documentary
  • Dziga Vertov
  • Agrarian Utopia
  • Asian documentary
  • cinema of in-between-ness
  • Uruphong Raksasad


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