Tangerine

(2015)

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Title:
Tangerine
Release Date:
10th July 2015
Runtime:
87 min
MPAA Rating:
R
Genres:
Directors:
Sean Baker
Writers:
Chris Bergoch, Sean Baker
Languages:
English, Armenian
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

It's Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend hasn't been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 76%
IMDb Rating 7.1

Casts

James Ransone as Chester
Mickey O'Hagan as Dinah
Mya Taylor as Alexandra

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Jennifer Lynx 4th February, 2016

A brilliant indie film well worth watching

Aside from being a thoroughly enjoyable film, "Tangerine" has the remarkable distinction of being shot entirely on an iPhone 5S. How such a feat was accomplished is beyond me for while it does appear to be a low budget piece it looks fantastic. Furthermore, maybe because of the unique film techniques, it feels very real, like you were just tagging along for the duration. The story takes place over the course of about 12 hours, following the lives of two transgender prostitutes on Christmas Eve. Sin-dee has just been released from jail, and her best friend Alexandra lets slip that her boyfriend/pimp picked up with another women while she was away. This sets Sin-dee off on a rampage as she scours the L.A. streets looking for the new girl and her cheating man. The story weaves from Sin-dee's quest, to Alexandra picking up a few tricks throughout the day, and subtly follows a cab driver who has a thing for Sin-dee, while his family works out his proclivities. Through all of this, the film is not condescending, preachy, or insensitive to anyone. It is brutally honest, hilarious at times, realistic, even touching and sad. I loved this movie. From the colorful characters to the perfect pacing to the creative cinematography, "Tangerine" is one film every lover of cinema should watch at least once. Oh, and a super soundtrack! I hope to add it to the collection one day.

Reviewed by Shawn Sorensen 22nd August, 2015

Raw

Glad to see the theater packed for this one. The way it was shot feels like a documentary, but the raw subject matter and unpolished acting were in-your-face in the best ways. There's no time to judge these fast-moving, trans-gendered prostitutes, and why would you? Everything's f***ed up. Family people are not what they seem, everyone's motivations are unique, people are desperate for acceptance, affection and enough money to make it to the next day. They play the hands they're dealt, like all of us, spinning around and around, trying to get answers and making stupid mistakes along the way. In the end, it's still a friendship movie, not a package with a shiny, redeeming bow. Sick of safe, sanitized, statistical NPR? Here's your movie.

Reviewed by David Ferguson (fergusontx@gmail.com) 13th June, 2015

friends and family on an iphone

Greetings again from the darkness. It's hard to imagine a better choice for opening night of the 4th annual Oak Cliff Film Festival. After all, this year's theme is the "No Wave Movement" of the late 1970's, and writer/director Sean Baker's most recent film (and a Sundance favorite) is the perfect complement. Co-written with Chris Bergoch and filmed entirely on iPhone 5s' (with cinematic apps), this gritty, no-frills film spotlights real problems of real people on a real day … on the real streets of Hollywood and Los Angeles. Personally, I haven't seen many (ok, any) films that focus on two transgender prostitutes (both, persons of color). However, the exciting thing is that the story pays little attention to the vocation of Sin-Dee and Alexandra, and is more a story of friendship, heartbreak, and the sub-cultures that make up a particular community of the L.A. area. This is not the glitzy/celebrity side of Hollywood, but rather the underbelly of a melting pot city where the paths of transgender streetwalkers and Armenian cab drivers intersect. Sin-Dee (Kiki Kitana Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor) are opposite personality types, but clearly good friends as they chat while splitting a donut in the opening scene. We quickly learn that Sin-Dee is fresh out of jail after serving 28 days, and she doesn't react well to Alexandra's news that their pimp (and Sin-Dee's boyfriend) Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating with a "natural" woman (played by a very talented Mickey O'Hagan) while she was incarcerated. A woman scorned provides the energy of the film as Sin-Dee tracks down this mysterious girl whose name starts with a "D". It also provides new meaning for dragging someone all over town (kudos to Ms O'Hagan for the physicality and bruises). The sassy banter is filled with brutal put-downs and smart-ass comebacks, as the three actresses play off each other as if loaded with short-fused fireworks. The story with taxi driver Razmik (Karren Karagulian) shows a family man drawn like a magnet to the world of Sin-Dee and Alexandra … he even finds a reason to skip out on Christmas Eve dinner with his family. His mother-in-law Ashken (Alla Tumanian) is most suspicious of his activities, and that leads to the frenetic and hilarious confrontation at Donut Time. Many individual scenes are funny, while others are tension-filled. There is even a scene in Razmik's cab featuring veteran actor Clu Gulager ("The Virginian"), and Armenian celebrity Arsen Grigoryan plays another taxi driver. The acting throughout is strong and humanistic, and the iPhone photography is shocking in its depth and range … we would never suspect the "equipment" being used. This approach allowed for the organic feel of the street – think of Banksy making a movie … clandestine with no sets (or permits). Baker's style is reminiscent of John Waters and John Cassavetes, and that's quite a compliment. The film also features the pitch perfect description of Los Angeles: "a beautifully wrapped lie".

Reviewed by Rob Killian 8th June, 2015

Art in 2015: This is why we make and watch films

Right up front let me tell you this is not an easy film to watch. It is vulgar, raw, painful and shocking at times. It is, however, going to stand for some time as this generation's example of how to write a story, tell a story, and create characters that are not only believable, but memorable. Tangerine, the gift we get on Christmas in America, is a story about people who live in constant chaos, in an unsafe and harsh America where not everyone get's sterling silver from the man in the North pole. It is a visually stunning achievement and reminds us that those of us who make art are first and foremost storytellers. Bravo to those who were brave enough to produce, act in and make this story come to our movie screens. Watch out Hollywood, the next generation of artists making movies has arrived.

Reviewed by Alice Alveraz 1st February, 2015

What An Indie Film Should Be

I saw this Premiere at Sundance 2015. This is what a Sundance film should be. You start watching at a distance. The subject matter of prostitutes, pimps, drugs, sex, homosexuality and gender roles is foreign to most and even repulsive to some. But that's the beauty. It draws you in...you start to care about the characters, you start to laugh with them. You then admire their pluck. You feel their frustration, sadness and even shame. Then you identify with it. Then, eventually, you admire it. Finally, what you see are human beings with the same, or even better, values that you have. The music is cutting edge street sound that propels you along the LA sidewalks and, combined with the colors of the film (i.e. tangerine), it pulls you into the brash and jolting life on some of the worse streets of LA. The power of the film is that, in powerful ways, that street community seems a better home than you have in safe suburbia. This is what indie film should be.....it takes a different subject matter, perhaps something disturbing, draws you in and changes the way you view the world. Forever. Not just during the course of a film festival. Even better, this film was shot entirely on three iPhone 5s. At the Premiere, the audience audibly gasped when this fact rolled on screen during the credits. Another thing an indie film should do...change the way you look at how films can be made. (I'm actually going to try to make a film this summer...seriously). This film should have won the Sundance NEXT award....and probably would have if it was not by audience vote. This is not mainstream..it is an independent film. This film will change your life. P.S. Both female leads were powerful and legitimate, in every sense of that word. But Kiki Kitana Rodriguez has screen presence and karma enough to fill Dodger Stadium one hundred times over. I could watch her for yours, and hope we all have a chance to do so again.