Review: Nobody Passes Perfectly
A film review from super-fantastic new Gaelick writer, Sinéad
What happens if your gender doesn’t match your body? And what happens if you decide to fix that? In Nobody Passes Perfectly, Saskia Bisp films two people, Erik Hansen and Tomka Weiss, who are figuring out the answers to that very question.
Bisp allows the two men to tell their own story, without any voiceover interference, or questions. Instead, the conversations are permitted to flow naturally, which lends an air of credence to the film.
There is a sense that we are truly getting a glimpse into how it feels to not fit the gender binary, and the fears and consequences of transitioning. Though the settings for each scene are obviously contrived for the camera, it never feels forced; the audience never feels like anybody is acting.
In this together
Tomka has only just started transitioning, and he and his girlfriend wonder how their relationship dynamic will change, now that he is becoming a man. Their conversations about how different things will be, and their fears that they won’t succeed, are beautifully interspersed with shots of them swimming together, or more accurately dancing underwater. This is a couple which is very much in love, and their discussions are real, honest, and totally compelling.
Tomka also has several Trans* friends, and we see them talk about their experience of gender, and how none of them feel the same way about it. The conversations they have are enlightening, and it is refreshing to see nobody say they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’, or that they ‘played with boys toys as a child’.
Trans and happy
One man says he feels not like a man, but like a Trans*man, and that he is happy that way. The people in this documentary are not giving a trans*-101 talk, they are not trying to simplify the process down so that everyone in the audience can understand, rather they are voicing their own experiences and thus present a much more radical view of gender than we are normally allowed to see.
Erik’s time on screen is divided between a dinner he is sharing with a cis, straight friend, and various scenes of him bathing. Their discussion of masculinity in general is very interesting to watch, as both men try to piece together what it is that really makes a man, and find that neither of them are actually very sure about the answer.
Though the film ends with us wanting more, and wishing that perhaps Bisp had interjected for clarification at certain points, this documentary stands as a genuine, thought provoking piece of trans cinema, managing to ask tough questions while never once becomes depressing. Nobody Passes Perfectly is outstanding, and will give any viewer something to think about long after the final credits have rolled.
Nobody Passes Perfectly is available from Busk Films, a site that allows you to download and watch films for as little as €3.
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