DIRECTOR: ZHOU XIAOWEN
COUNTRY: CHINA/HONG KONG
CINEMATOGRAPHY: LU GENGXIN
MUSIC: SHAO XIAOWEN, HANG LI
CAST: Ailiya, Liu Peiqui, Ge Zhijun, Zhang Haiyan, Yan Zhenguo, Yang Xiao
SUPER FEATURES: The story
ERMO is one of those films that we just about expect to see in the western countries. And, really, it may signal either a commentary on the outside world, or it may display something about human nature and its fickle way and style.
It is a story that can best be described as "keeping up with the Jones' and doing it a step better".
Ermo, is a young married housewife that is a bit frustrated, because her husband is disabled and she has to do the work. She spends much of her time making noodles and taking them to town to sell them. In comes up a neighbor, whose own wife he doesn't get along with. And he helps her go to town to sell her stuff.
Ermo's child is constantly going to the neighbour's house to watch tv, something that irks her to no end, and she resolves to get the biggest TV that she can find. And instead of selling noodles, she ends up getting another job and also giving away blood for various causes.
And although most things in this film happen accidentally, like the blood giving, it is clear that Ermo is decided that she is going to go one up on her neighbor. And she will do whatever it takes to get there.
And get there she does. And the whole town is now parked in her house watching TV, and her disabled husband is no longer made fun of, except lightly. And the film ends in a note that is disconcerting to say the least, although it may not mean anything. Ermo got it, but did not expect to catch the "snow" on it in the middle of the night, when the stations are signed off.
It is a really well done, and written satire in many aspects, and it spares no ideas when it decides to make fun of the people that are so dedicated to the world of television. But above it all, the film, is really a knock on the new life style, that is TV ridden, and not work oriented. Everything seems to be planned that way. Work so hard to get to this point? It becomes a subtle statement about an empty society, and it is presumed that the west is looked at this way..... but the people are seeing this stuff in a totally new light, and this time in color, although we were never shown the neighbour's tv, which is obviously smaller. To them, the outside is a brand new world.
While this is not a great film, with outstanding values in production like Zhang Yimou, or Chen Kaige, it still is a sign that the vitality of the
Chinese film industry has been active, and not wasting its time. And it should hit a much more lucrative larger market, as soon as China learns
to work with the west a little better, through Hong Kong, if this is the path that it takes.
Other than that, this is a nice film where the eccentric live, and the poor come and watch. But it has some rather nice moments. And the dedication to its goal, in Ermo's mind are worth the sight.
Very enjoyable film, although there really is nothing fancy, or artistic about it... it just is.
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