Insomnia, paranoia, and delusions are common issues among Artists, especially writers. When the real world stops making sense, they trap themselves in an imaginary world of their dreams. For most people, this imagination is termed dreams but for a writer, it becomes his work of art. A similar case is experienced by the protagonist of the Chinese film Super Me (Qi Huan Zhi Lv). At some point, he gets so addicted to his imagination that he fails to discriminate between reality and dreams.
‘Super Me’ Summary
A washed-out screenwriter Sang Yu is suffering from insomnia. But this isn’t a normal condition. Whenever he closes his eyes, a spirit demon chases him down and kills him. Sang Yu visits a plethora of psychologists, doctors, and scientists but they all fail to find a cure for his illness.
Deprived of mental and financial stability, Sang Yu decides to commit suicide. A pancake vendor by the roadside saves his life and discusses his issue. Sang Yu tells him that he couldn’t bear the pain of dying every night. The vendor offers a piece of advice. He asks Sang Yu to wake up before the demon kills him. He gives him the three magical words “I’m only dreaming” that would do wonders to his sanity.
Using these magical words, Sang Yu realizes that he has the power to bring treasures from his dreams into the real world. Soon he starts selling them and becomes rich, fulfilling all his dreams, he once only imagined.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Super Me’ Ending Explained
The philosophy of Yin and Yang plays an important part in the film. It is a dualism concept, according to which everything in the world has a bright and dark side. The proportion creates a balance in the universe and when the scales are disturbed, the world faces wrath. The concept is very similar to Karma (Indian mythology), according to which a man is accountable for his deeds. Everything for which he had labored will arrive at him in this life or another. The philosophy is not only applicable to goods deeds but too bad ones as well.
In Sang Yu’s case, he cracked a medium to get easy money through the medium of dreams. After a point, he became greedy. He took away much more he needed, which created an imbalance in his Yin and Yang. All those scars that he attained in his dreams appeared on his body in reality. A sign of Karma and the universe’s way of telling, “You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too.”
A mafia to whom Sang Yu sold treasures in exchange for cash, hunts him down to rob him out. When Sang Yu refuses to pay him, he kills his friend and harms his girlfriend, Hua’er. A wounded Sang Yu couldn’t open his eyes and enter the world of dreams. A voice narrates to the audience that in the real world, social norms keep a check on our alter ego, our demonic side but in dreams we the demon are unchained. We let our flaws take over and become a monstrous version of ourselves and that’s what happened with Sang Yu. He became Greedy.
The dream world visualizes the possible outcomes of Sang Yu, if the vendor would not have stopped him from jumping off the roof, or if he wouldn’t have found the powers. The reality is nothing but a path we choose to travel but in dreams, we can explore many paths and still come back to point 0. Trapped in a loop, Sang Yu tries to redeem his Karma and balance the Yin and Yang.
Sang Yu wakes up from the long dream and arrives at a point where he first used his power. At this possibility, he doesn’t have the power and chooses to live a normal hard-working life. He works in Hua’er cafe and becomes much more compassionate than his greedy version. However, at the end of this path, the pancake vendor returns him a bag of money that he discreetly hid in his shop as a gesture of gratitude, in a different timeline. The demonic world appears again symbolizing the Sang Yu is still trapped in a dream.
‘Super Me’ Post Credit Scene
A post-credit sequence depicts Sang Yu again at point 0 where he had no power and Hua’er meets him outside the store. The film screens his demonic version looking at him from a distance. Sang Yu is trapped in a possible loop that keeps on repeating with different choices and experiencing different outcomes. However, the end is always the same, it brings him back to the start.
Sang Yu is a screenwriter and living in a world of illusion is part of his job. Many of us keep playing memory in our minds, looking for a possible outcome which in reality doesn’t exist. Sang Yu might be a case of Schizophrenia. His demonic dreams and introduction of powers were his own setup to cope up with his conflicting reality but once trapped in a delusion, he lost his ability to comprehend imagination from reality. He plays the same memory again and again to find his existence.
Super Me (Qi Huan Zhi Lv) is a mind-bending thriller that plays tricks with your mind through a disillusioned protagonist. However, while the film is an extravagant show, it lacks substance and emotional depth. It spells out a lot of philosophy while it fails to explore any. The story thematically underlines the consequences of greed but it leaves you in confusion. At the end of it, one fails to realize what was the motive of it? If it was entertainment, the film fails to achieve it as well.
It is a film that pats itself, lauding itself to be super creative and intelligent, but Cinema isn’t about it. It is about small gestures, moments of happiness or love, and emotions. No matter how intelligent your story is, if your art fails to depict a feeling, it is just a waste of time.
Super Me (Qi Huan Zhi Lv) is a 2019 Drama Thriller film released in 2021 by Netflix. The film is directed by Zhang Chong and is streaming on Netflix.
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