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  Nobody No Spitting
Year: 2019
Director: Lin Chun hua
Stars: Jian Fu Sang, Wu Ya Ruo, Huang Jie Fe, Lu Wen Xue, Gu Yong Yan, Wang Guan Yue, Huang Kang Feng, Huang Shao Wen, Ye Shu Chen, Zhuang Zhi Hao, Liu Dai Ying, Wu Yi Zhen, Cheng Jin Ling
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Every day, this gender fluid elderly person the neighbours only know as "Weirdo" (Jian Fu Sang) gets immaculately dressed in their apartment and sets off on bus journeys around the city. They may dress like a man, but the features are female, as is their gait, and this incongruity attracts hostility kept in check because nobody wants to make any trouble for themselves. But the bus drivers are a different matter, for Weirdo has a revolting habit of spitting on the floors of whatever public transport they are on, and when confronted, refuses to speak. Today one driver had had enough, and dragged them from the bus forcibly, leaving the old person with a wound to the back of their head. But after a trip to the hospital, they returned home to find a surprise...

Nobody could be seen as a story of a transgender man struggling to get by as they grow older and more infirm, yet refusing all offers of help, not that they get too many of those thanks to their generally antisocial demeanour. But it's also a story of how people take advantage of one another, and how damaging that can be, as many of the characters were essentially selfish and self-centred, which made this a hard film to like, even if there were aspects that should by all rights have brought a sympathy to the viewer. Take Weirdo: they really should be the hero of this tale, but their disgusting habits render them difficult to warm to, especially when if this was excised from the script an easier to get along with picture could have resulted. Though perhaps that was the point.

We were seeing these characters warts and all, and the only one of them who we could truly think, they are not being treated well and it's not their fault, was the mother of the teenage girl who breaks into Weirdo's apartment. This gets a bit complicated, but in plain terms, Zhenzhen (Wu Ya Ruo) is a surly girl who shuns every attempt of her mother Yuping (Huang Jie Fe) to reach out and support her emotionally, paralleling Weirdo's behaviour, only with a more domestic than public angle. But Zhenzhen has one reason for her bad temper, she believes - correctly - her father is having an affair, and wishes to catch him in the act on video, the best method as far as she sees is to spy on him and his mistress from the apartment opposite, which is, you guessed it, Weirdo's place, hence her breaking in.

But when the old person steals her phone, which then breaks when she gets it back off them, she begins to hound Weirdo, trailing after them on the street and the buses (the ones that pick them up, anyway) until she pressures a result where she is allowed to use the apartment. Taking advantage, you see, and one way of doing that is to gather a secret about someone and use it against them, secrets being a matter the film dealt with as well, as there was more than one individual here who held one of those. Weirdo does that literally by putting a prosthetic penis down their trousers, but Zhenzhen's brother also hides something from his mother, who is belittled at every turn - you kind of want the film to be about her, because she deserves a break. Theoretically the gender-confused character should have been the most interesting, and we do find out their origins in all their turmoil eventually, but they were not very believable as how a real person would act, and giving them that mixed sexual identity did not explain away the improbabilities. Nevertheless, Nobody did sustain your interest, and was too brief to wear out its welcome.

[Available to UK audiences digitally between 30 October and 5 November on this link - CLICK HERE - all titles are free to watch (limited to 400 users per title).]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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