The first feature film from acclaimed Argentinian-born, New York-based visual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is an exquisitely photographed, minimalist portraiture that skirts the rich territory between documentary and fiction. A nearly plotless, observational encounter, the film follows its eponymous subject as he drifts through the seasons in a small Chiang Mai village. A retired rice farmer, Lung Neaw is a quiet and boyish man who spends his idle days conversing with neighbours, doing odd jobs and walking through the jungle. A fascinating, almost indescribable charge hangs about him; while leading a simple, rural life, his quotidian acts become things imbued with much deeper senses of meaning through the eyes of Tiravanija.
Neaw is a man curiously both timeless and thoroughly modern, both everywhere and invisible, alternately in and out of step with his surroundings. The simplicity of his existence–one of foraging, local routines and solitude–point to larger questions of the self, sustainability and modernity. At the same time, he is a man constantly out of place; pleased to be in the presence of others, but most at ease when alone and drifting/walking–a symbol of the unmoored contemporary world that surrounds him.
Tiravanija’s film is a sensual encounter with an individual and environment; through gorgeous super-16mm cinematography and a dense aural landscape, he captures the vitality and complexity of rural existence, and with a patient, deliberate pace creates a remarkable experience of looking and listening.
Director: Rirkrit Tiravanija
Producers: Christian Manzutto And Rirkrit Tiravanija
Cinematographers: Christian Manzutto And Rirkrit Tiravanija
Editor: Christian Manzutto
Sound: Eva Sangiorgi And Chalermrat Kaweewattana
Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Buenos Aires, in 1961 and is currently based in New York, Berlin and Thailand. Tiravanija’s installations and actions provide platforms for artistic, public and private activities—effectively blurring the boundaries that customarily separate them. His projects invite the public to enter into and literally engage with his work; in fact, the active participation of the viewer is necessary for the work to be fully realized.
Official Selection–Venice Film Festival 2011
Official Selection–Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival 2011
MOMA: ContemporAsian 2012