There's this arty-farty Mainland China movie that I watched in Shanghai some years back that left a deep impression even now.
I normally prefer mindless action flicks; but this was an exception because of the actress. Yes, she is pretty.
The protagonist in the movie is an aspirant opera singer living in the shanty town suburbs of Beijing.
The problem is...
She is way past her prime at 40 plus...
And downright ugly...
But that has never stopped her from taking part in opera singing competitions and auditioning for parts in operas.
Rejections after rejections; she will cry her heart out.
To pay for her living expenses, this opera aspirant gives singing lessons to the young 20 somethings who are chasing their own opera dreams.
When some of her young students managed to land small opera singing roles, you can see the internal struggles she had to grapple with...
Behind the congratulatory smiles and words, there's this sourness that she is way better than her students at her craft, but why them but not her!?
Living in the shanty town has one benefit. Everyone is equally poor and down on their luck. So it natural to be the support network for each other.
One of her most ardent supporter is lounge hostess neighbour next door.
"Don't give up!"
"You can do it!"
One day, this lounge hostess' gigolo lover absconded with all her jewellery and life savings.
When the protagonist tried to console and give advice to her distraught neighbour, she was taken aback when the lounge hostess snapped back at her.
There and then, our opera singing aspirant had an epiphany!
She had been taken for a fool all this time...
So that's what her ever so kind and supportive neighbours really think of her behind her back! Everyone of them!
She's the door mat in their neighbourhood.
A few days later, she moved out of the shanty town to pursue her dream in a new city.