Release Date: July 24, 2015
Running Time: 88 minutes
Tangerine isn’t the first feature film to be shot on an iPhone but its deep, rich look, vigorous pace, and dramatic highs and lows reveal that it is possible to make a micro-budget indie film as emotionally charged as any other using cheap and accessible technology. Director Sean S. Baker’s follow up to 2012’s Starlet presents a day in the life of a transgender prostitute, Sin-Dee Rella, who is played with fury and flippancy by transgender actress Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. Released from a short prison stint on Christmas Eve, Sin-Dee goes on the warpath after learning her boyfriend (Sinister’s James Ransome) cheated on her while she was locked up. Sin-Dee tears up the grimy streets and back alleys of L.A. with the reluctant help of her best friend and fellow working girl Alexandra, who is played with obvious anxiousness by Mya Taylor, also a transgender actress. The bond between Sin-Dee and Alexandra cannot be denied but this compelling character study puts it to the test in its bid to determine whether friendship is stronger than conditional love. Baker also introduces us to some of Sin-Dee and Alexandra’s clients, which allows him to explore the psychological makeup of the men who find themselves torn between their commitment to their family and the need to fulfill their sexual needs. He shows remarkable empathy for one particular client, a taxi driver played by Karren Karagulian, whose fondness for Alexandra is both touching and potentially self-destructive. Not that everyone in Tangerine is as open minded as Karagulian’s family man, and the occasional taunts and despicable acts directed at Sin-Dee and Alexandra serve as a summation of the hatred that has bubbled to the surface since Caitlyn Jenner became the unofficial face of the transgender community. The first hour of Tangerine is driven by a nervous energy that is in part created by that spitefulness. This leads to a measured final act that resolves matters in a suitably untidy fashion but it leaves us believing that Sin-Dee can handle whatever the future has in store for her.
Aired: July 23, 2015
Web site: http://www.magpictures.com/tangerine/