Release year: 2004
Run time: 120 mins
Film type: Documentary
The house field captured in this film is my own hometown. The villagers portrayed in the film are my parents and their fellow villagers. The film is divided into three aspects: the story of the Yin realm in the House Field of Xi Mao, the story of the Yang realm, and the intermediary that connects the villagers in the Yang realm with the sinister forces in the Yin realm—the Yin-Yang boundary (with the horse's hoof as the medium). The film attempts to analyze the inner layers of the villagers' lives, which are the roots and foundation of their livelihood. As a rice-growing area, the villagers' consciousness is shaped by the perspective of rice cultivation, as if they have established a clear pattern over thousands of years. The villagers, our "small-scale farmers," are always confined to a self-sufficient, survival-oriented, opportunistic, and profit-seeking existence outside the mainstream of the country. In the Yang realm, the villagers are obsessed and oblivious to the disguised form of gambling through Hong Kong Mark Six lottery, falling into the trap of their own consciousness. Many villagers stake their entire belongings on the lottery, either achieving great wealth and prosperity or being forced to flee to distant places or even taking their own lives. Incidents of families being destroyed and lives lost are not uncommon. The speculative behavior of the villagers purely expresses their fundamental consciousness as weeds rather than virtuous plants. This may be the fundamental consciousness of the villagers.
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.