Director: Zhou Xiaowen
Screenwriters: Xu Baoqi, Lang Yun

Institute History


When we first meet Ermo, she is selling noodles at the local market. We get a glimpse of the tenacity and determination of this middle-aged Chinese woman as she hawks her wares. Then a local trucker convinces her to sell her noodles in the city for a better price.

Meanwhile, Ermo’s home life is unsatisfying. Her husband is increasingly ineffectual as the village leader, and she must compete with the television set next door for her son’s affection. On a trip to town, Ermo spies the only thing that could win back the love of her family and the villagers’ respect—a twenty-seven-inch color TV set. From this moment, Ermo is obsessed with buying it. She begins making noodles for a big city restaurant, and even sells her blood to the local hospital.

Ermo is an exploration into the dark side of capitalism. Where Horatio Alger’s characters succeeded through hard work and grit, Ermo loses her blood, her health, and her family trying to get something that she does not need.

With his talent for storytelling revealed in earlier films like No Regrets about Youth and The Lie Detector, director Zhou Xiaowen has made an entertaining, beautiful, and often very funny film about one strong-willed woman’s misguided drive to better herself.

— Christian Gaines

Screening Details


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