Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tangerine (2015)

Tangerine (2015)
Directed by Sean Baker
Written by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch

This is a kinetic drama shot in the streets of Los Angeles. It has a color saturated look of gritty lowlife glamor which feels appropriate to the subject matter.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez is in the leading role as Sin-Dee a trans street sex worker. Sin-Dee is back on the street after a brief stint incarcerated.  She hears that her lover Chester has cheated on her with a woman named Dinah.  Along with friend Alexandra, played by Mya Taylor, Sin-Dee, in a jealous rage, hunts down Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan) eventually finding her in a very unappealing cheapo motel bordello. This is staged in a very well shot moving camera room to room scene.

There is also a married Armenian cab driver Razmik (Karren Karagulian) with a taste for trans trade who figures into the story. At one point there is a nice little scene with veteran actor Clu Gulager, who I have watched for over 50 years, as a cab passenger.

The fascinatingly exotic, to this NYCer anyway, LA street locations and the convincing performances of the committed trans and non-trans actors give the movie a feel of almost cinéma vérité documentary realism.

The movie is also famous for being shot on an iPhone 5s. It looks great. With camera work by director Baker and Radium Cheung.

Personally I feel that sexual jealousy, which is the core conflict of the story, is rather silly. Why can’t we all just get along?
But I know people feel it and that it is not as rare as I might think it ought to be.

Tangerine is an engaging fast moving indie drama. Well done.
It is currently available in Netflix.

There is some very positive buzz about Sean Baker’s newest movie, not yet released. I look forward to that one.

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