MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 24,154 this week

Rice People (1994)
"Neak sre" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  12 October 1994 (France)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 196 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 4 critic

In Cambodian refugee camps, when children are asked where rice comes from, they answer, "from UN lorries". They have never seen a rice field. One day, these children will have to learn to ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(novel), , 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

"Hand of God" - What to Watch

IMDb sits down with the cast of the thriller drama "Hand of God," including Ron Perlman, Julian Morris, Garret Dillahunt, and Alona Tal.

Watch our interview

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 472 titles
created 06 Jul 2011
 
Mix
a list of 675 titles
created 13 Apr 2012
 
a list of 9997 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Rice People" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Rice People (1994)

Rice People (1994) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Rice People.
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Documentary of the S-21 genocide prison in Phnom Penh with interviews of prisoners and guards. On the search for reasons why this could have happened.

Director: Rithy Panh
Stars: Khieu 'Poev' Ches, Yeay Cheu, Nhem En
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rithy Panh uses clay figures, archival footage, and his narration to recreate the atrocities Cambodia's Khmer Rouge committed between 1975 and 1979.

Director: Rithy Panh
Stars: Randal Douc, Jean-Baptiste Phou
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Héloïse Godet, Kamel Abdeli, Richard Chevallier
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime caused the death of some 1.8 million people, representing one-quarter of the population of Cambodia. Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, was ... See full summary »

Director: Rithy Panh
Stars: Kaing Guek Eav
The Sea Wall (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A troubled mother's spirit crumbles when her adult children strike out for independence. Feeling abandoned she contemplates taking drastic action.

Director: Rithy Panh
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Gaspard Ulliel, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey
Pao's Story (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set in a breath-taking primitive landscape in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam, the film tells the story of a Hmong tribe girl named Pao. She was raised by her stepmother, for her real ... See full summary »

Director: Quang Hai Ngo
Stars: Do Thi Hai Yen, Hoa Thuy Do, Thanh Kha Ly
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

"We've worked so hard on this land," says Sav Samourn. "And now they've come to destroy it all. Sooner or later it will all be gone." In her directorial debut, award-winning filmmaker ... See full summary »

Director: Kalyanee Mam
The Law (1990)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Set in a pre-colonial African past, Tilai is about an illicit love affair and its consequences. Saga returns to his village after an extended absence to discover that his father has taken ... See full summary »

Director: Idrissa Ouedraogo
Stars: Rasmané Ouédraogo, Ina Cissé, Roukietou Barry
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the first half of this century, young Li Tienlu joines a travelling puppet theatre and subsequently makes a career as one of Taiwan's leading puppeteers. During World War II the Japanese... See full summary »

Director: Hsiao-hsien Hou
Stars: Tian-Lu Li, Giong Lim, Ming Hwa Bai
Cyclo (1995)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young man who struggles through life by earning some money with his bicycle-taxi in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city) gets contact to a group of criminals. They introduce him to the mafia-world ... See full summary »

Director: Tran Anh Hung
Stars: Le Van Loc, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Tran Nu Yên-Khê
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After the end of the Cambodian Civil War, people in Cambodia struggled in their return to their normal lives. Among them is a kick boxer Savannah (Narith Roeun). A survivor of the war, who ... See full summary »

Director: Rithy Panh
Stars: Chea Lyda Chan, Ratha Keo, Sra N'Gath Kheav
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Rithy Panh
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peng Phan ...
Yim Om, mother
Mom Soth ...
Yong Poeuv, father
Chhim Naline ...
Sakha, oldest daughter
Va Simorn ...
Sokhoeun
Sophy Sodany ...
Sokhon
Muong Danyda ...
Sophon
Pen Sopheary ...
Sophoeun
Proum Mary ...
Sophat
Sam Kourour ...
Sopheap
Noy Samnang ...
Ming Voeun
Phang Chamroeun ...
Man
Chou Saokhun ...
Voth
Daniel Hung Meas ...
Pou Mann (as Meas Daniel)
Sou Bottra ...
Savuth
Say ...
Kheam
Edit

Storyline

In Cambodian refugee camps, when children are asked where rice comes from, they answer, "from UN lorries". They have never seen a rice field. One day, these children will have to learn to live in Cambodia, i.e., they will have to learn to cultivate, to plough, to work the land. Rice people tries to share this way of life, to demonstrate the fragile equilibrium on which it lies and the freedom it represents. Written by L.H. Wong <as9401k56@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Language:

Release Date:

12 October 1994 (France)  »

Also Known As:

People of the Rice Paddies  »

Box Office

Gross:

$43,511 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Ranjau sepanjang jalan (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
My kingdom for a handful of rice
4 April 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If life is uncertain, what do we hold onto? And if circumstances dictate that love will bring only pain, what can we look forward to? Even when we know something is not quite true, it can give us comfort. Have you ever known anyone who kept a treasured teddy-bear long past childhood? Holding on to ideas – we may do it for the warmth and sentiment they bring. Give a pet human characteristics. Try maybe to fill a little gap somewhere no human can fill. The religious among us might seek solace in a being for which there is no actual proof. A habit that is harmless yet not justified, other than by our fondness for it.

Cambodian people, officially Buddhist, have a generation-old tendency towards animism, investing everything – from a tree to a rock to a village - with guardian spirits or deities. Before we exclaim, "How backward!" let us remember that we celebrate Father Christmas, and many of us read horoscopes or avoid walking under ladders. Even though we don't 'believe' that the planets control our fate. Or that bad luck in bucketfuls will fall on us from above.

It's just the culture, the way of life. In Rithy Panh's neo-realist film, the Rice People, we look at customs and a way of life that has existed for many years among rice farmers. At times lyrical, at times frightening, we walk into a story of sadness and beauty. Different strains of rice are given different poetic names. Folklore doctors are given due respect – and money; and western-style hospitals, the 'sensible' and even more expensive solution, tried if the more basic approaches don't cut it. With 'fingers crossed' we hope western medicine will work – but of course, that sometimes can't perform miracles either.

The story here is nominally based on the novel, 'No Harvest but a Thorn,' by Shahnon Ahmed. It was previously adapted as a film by Jamil Sulong. Here, Panh says the backbone of the film is a woman he met in a refugee camp towards the end of the Cambodian civil war. She is Yim Om, a mother who loses everything, her family, her meagre sense of security, and even her sanity. Yet Om lives on. It is easy to read this as a symbol for the fate of Cambodia – rather like some other works by Panh such as, One Evening After the War, that probe the complex balance between accepting the crippling ravages of that country from outside, and attempting to survive. But the film's beauty lies in its simplicity, in telling its story in a completely unadorned fashion.

Rice is not the easiest of crops. It needs a lot of attention – as we soon discover. Tending through different seasons, protecting from natural disasters such as flooding and storms – and fighting off predators such as sparrows and crab. Om's village, like many in Cambodia even today, has no running water, no electricity, and not much access to medical care. They have enough rice paddies to eke out a living - and barely that. They know disaster can come from the usual quarters or, recalling the title of Ahmed's book, something as simple as treading on a thorn. Put a foot out of action and the whole body can't perform the needed heavy work at the critical time.

For Om and her husband Poeuv (and their seven daughters) they must carry on even when life seems unremittingly devoid of hope. "I'm like a floating weed carried off by the current," declares Poeuv as one day he lies ill.

The Rice People reconnects us with a simpler way of living. A lifestyle that is hard, yet values the nobility of honest labour. We experience the simple joy of the rain. And for people whose lives depend on it, the joy is perhaps more sincere and heartfelt than that similar joy of young lovers in western movies, singing and frolicking in rain that is of little more significance than not having an umbrella.

When rice – or the weather – can mean the difference between life and death, not just for one's immediate family but for one's children and grand-children, is it not understandable that it begins to assume almost divine personas? In some ways, The Rice People is a meditation on place, on nature. Comparable in some ways perhaps to Bela Tarr's meditations on, and treatment of, buildings and structures: for instance, in The Man from London. Taken with the historical background of Cambodia, its endless struggles and frequent wars not of its own making, this paean to a simple food staple might be considered masterly. But how anthropological are we feeling today? Panh explores colourful facets of village life. From unusual methods of traditional fishing, rituals of cremation, or the horrific (but eminently 'reasonable') methods of handling madness. It fills in many gaps for those curious about a culture and land which is practically unknown in the West. But the downside is that, unless water-logged Cambodian rural life really floats your boat, it may be consigned to that 'worthy but forgettable' shelf of South-East Asian cinema.

Panh, who has seen the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge first hand (and with his film S21 triggered moves for implementing justice in that respect) seems almost an expression of the land that he loves rather than a director-artist 'creating' a movie himself. He is widely respected, from the Cannes Film Festival to Amnesty International, yet it is easy to see how his lesser films could leave some audiences unsatisfied. Rice People maybe makes the grade, but more by dint of the zero competition in the field of great directors from Cambodia than something that strikes a masterchord quite separate from its culture. We are, perhaps, being asked to love the rice fields rather more than the film.


2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
i just adore this film... any others like this? (like pearl buck novels) bipbeepboop
End credits song matsflaaten
Discuss Rice People (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?