Ermo is a film that revolves around a self-assertive peasant woman named Ermo, who is sexually frustrated because of her impotent husband. Ermo feels unwanted and becomes passionate about money, which becomes the substitution of her sexual needs. Frustrated by her neighbor’s privileged status as the only one who owns a 27-inch TV in the village, Ermo becomes obsessed with buying a 29-inch TV. Driven by her desire, Ermo transforms from a rural woman who sells twisted noodles in a local market to a consumer of Western cultural products such as TV programs. At the end the film, Ermo validates her life’s worth with the 29-inch colored TV, a television so big and expensive that even the head of the county cannot afford. However, the void in Ermo’s soul is left unfilled after she worked so hard and spent all her money on the TV. The big TV does not bring her happiness in the end. The film ends with an ironic scene where Ermo goes back to the local market and starts to make her living as a seller of twisted noodles again. The film director uses Ermo’s quest for a TV set to show the inevitable cultural disruptions and the struggle of the individual in a consumer society, which are caused by China’s modernization under its economic reform during the early 1990s. The film director uses one woman’s pursuit of “televisuality” as a social commentary on China’s collective national agenda of modernization and globalization under Deng Xiaoping. The film criticizes the capitalistic consumer culture, where everybody is struggling for material goods and become obsessed with money.
Directed by Xiaowen Zhou | Starring : Liya Ai, Peiqi Liu, Zhijun Ge, Haiyan Zhang, Zhenguo Yan | Presented at Locarno Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival