Film review of the American transgender comedy starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, May Taylor and directed by Sean Baker.
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Director: Sean Baker. Metrodome Distribution.
On Christmas Eve, released from a brief stint in jail, Sin-Dee Rella meets her best friend Alexandra who reveals that her boyfriend and pimp, Chester, has been cheating on her with a “white fish” (Caucasian female-born woman).
Are you looking for something fresh? Don’t look anymore. Since its premiere in Sundance, Tangerine is collecting enthusiastic reviews all over the circuit of film festivals. It is funny, aesthetically astonishing and provoking. Filmed on iPhone 5s and grabbing most of the scenes with just two cameras, Tangerine shows an unexpected Los Angeles through the eyes of two transgender friends.
The film is a irrecusable invitation to go on a ride to a much more colourful LA. No limos nor sea, no mansions nor mountains. Here you walk with the two transsexuals; it is a legitime trottoir by Santa Monica, and you will have to take the bus or the subway. Our two main characters are broke. For Christmas they share one donut.
Sin-Dee is determined to revenge her lover’s betrayal. But passionate and confused as she is, because after all she is a trans whore and her lover is a pimp, Baker found curious solutions to drive you to his character’s mood. He uses dolly shots, he spins the camera with vigour and sometimes you can only see a fragment of an ad: “They will never let go”. Also he saturated the colours of the city. In his words: “The California sun seems to constantly cast this beautiful orange hue over Santa Monica Boulevard. I thought ‘What if we saturated the colours?’. The tangerine orange colour became the dominant colour and we set on that title”.
In order to be more honest, the crew worked with many non-actors, which allowed the scriptwriters to add some veracity to the impro dialogues. They casted via Craiglist and Instagram. They found some gems on social media, e.g. the girl who takes selfies in the taxi. “She is a little celebrity on Instagram”.
In my opinion, Tangerine is an energy drink amongst loads of same taste soft drinks on the market. It knocked me out. The soundtrack is also amazing and I almost stood up on my seat. Try to catch it during London Film Festival or later.
See the official trailer on Youtube.
Cast & credits
Producers: Sean Baker, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou
Writer: Sean Baker
Camera: Sam Baker, Radium Cheung
Music: Matthew Smith
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, James Ransome.