Manji’o Cho’o is an experimental short film by Kalie Granier, created in collaboration with Mbya Guarani woman Juliana Escobar and her husband, Cacique Germán Acosta, along with anthropologists María Lucila Rodríguez Celin, Dr. Ana Padawer, all hailing from Argentina.

The project received support from various institutions, including The French Embassy in Argentina, L’Institut Français Argentine, Bienalsur 2023, UNTREF, Foro del Sur and Espacio INCCA del Conocimiento de Posadas.

Manji’o Cho’o immerses us in a day in the life of a Mbya Guarani woman, offering a glimpse into her cultivation and preparation of cassava with her family in the forest. The film delves into the intricate process of transforming cassava into the exquisite cassava recipe, known as « Manji’o Cho’o. » which is translated into Spanish as « pastel de mandioca » or in English as « shepherd’s pie. »This authentic and intimate portrayal of the indigenous woman’s daily life provides a profound understanding of her connection with the land, her culture, and her community. It highlights the significance of culinary traditions and illustrates how cassava, a staple in her diet, evolves into a symbol of identity and resistance. 

This experimental film explores the rhizomatic culture of cassava through the culinary traditions of Mbya Guarani woman, I seek to illuminate alternative ways of connecting—or reconnecting—with the natural world. In a time where languages and dialects are disappearing alongside 60% of biodiversity, this project is in Guarani. It primarily presents the perspectives of Mbya Guarani women, who, in this modern, extractivist, and conflict-ridden world, are the most vulnerable populations, constantly struggling for their rights.

What lessons can we glean from the rhizomatic culture of cassava and our relationship with the land? How might we reimagine cuisine as a foundational element, pivotal not only in fostering human connections but also in recognizing our interdependencies with other living beings? What links exist between the « cassava of the global South » and the « cereals of Western nations, » and why hasn’t cassava attained the same status in Western societies as maize, potatoes, or cereals? What insights does cassava offer about colonization and capitalist policies? And what myths and narratives does it impart?