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I Have What

Mao Chenyu

Release year: 2013

Run time: 103 mins

Film type: Documentary


This film examines the agricultural discourse and capital conditions in China over the past few decades through local examples. It explores issues such as how land systems can achieve fairness and efficiency, the loss of the sacred relationship between farmers and the land, and attempts to expand the vocabulary related to land and cultivation. The artist not only portrays the remnants of land and beliefs but also interviews over a hundred farmers in a dozen natural villages (see "China Grassroots Demand Survey - Yueyang Volume"). In front of the camera, villagers either speak to themselves or gather in small groups to discuss current affairs, hypotheses, and aspirations. Through individual emotional expressions and storytelling, they sharpen concepts that have become ingrained in their thinking. The film also explores the relationship between invasive species and the severe drought in Yun-Gui region, as well as the changes in the governance of "reason."


Director biography

Mao Chenyu, born in 1976, hails from Songyuan Village, Xinqiang Town, Yueyang City, Hunan Province. After completing his studies in Inorganic Non-metallic Materials at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tongji University in 2000, he began to focus on image-based practices. "Rice Cinema" is a series of visual experiments initiated by Mao Chenyu in 2003. Primarily employing ethnographic approaches within the realm of cinema, his works delve into obscured individual experiences, rural narratives and languages, ethnic differences, land politics, and other related topics. Mao's filming predominantly takes place within the vast region surrounding Yueyang in Hunan, extending to Shennongjia in Hubei, and Northeastern Guizhou, which encompasses the Dongting Lake area. Through capturing rice cultivation and exploring the cultural, agricultural, and social aspects intertwined with rice, he presents the will to exist and the spiritual lineage associated with it. Since 2013, the artist has expanded his language structures through exhibitions, lectures, interdisciplinary collaborations, and other mediums of expression.