• Tangerine (2015) - Sean Baker

    TANGERINE encompasses dizzying multitudes — it’s a neo-screwball chase flick with a dash of Rainer Werner Fassbinder — but mostly, movingly, it is a female-friendship movie about two people who each started life with an XY chromosome set. (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times, July 9, 2015)

    With a witty and efficient script by director Sean Baker and co-writer Chris Bergoch, “Tangerine” peels back the curtain on a fascinating Los Angeles microculture — the world of transgender prostitutes who work the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The L.A. they inhabit is one rarely seen on the big screen, a low-rent city of doughnut shops, coin-op laundromats and jumped subway turnstiles. The chemistry of the leads and their authentic, crackling dialogue make it a pleasure to tag along for the day. (Rebecca Keegan, The LA Times, July 9, 2015)

    Director Sean Baker offers up a gallery of the vivid, profane, utterly riotous characters who inhabit the fringes of LA’s sex industry — taxi drivers, pimps, wives and Eastern European mothers-in-law. It’s a bargain basement tour in many ways, but also an innovative one … Baker shot Tangerine entirely on iPhone 5s fitted out with anamorphic lenses so the images would have a wide-screen look … The result is grainy but perfectly cinematic. And shooting with iPhones lets the director keep up with his characters as they race from brothel to doughnut shop, have sex with johns while going through a car wash, humiliate unfaithful boyfriends, and support each other when the rest of the world looks askance, which it almost always does. (Bob Mondello, NPR, July 10, 2015)

    When the film begins, with a rollicking soundtrack on the sun-blistered streets of Los Angeles, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before. The colours and the sun are so bright and dazzling they blot out the grit everywhere but in the people stalking the sidewalks. Using mostly first-time actors, Baker achieves both highly stylised shooting and authenticity simultaneously. Everyone is moving, moving, moving, trying to accomplish some goal. “There is nothing out here but the hustle,” Alexandra tells us. If anything, that is the moral of the movie. (Brian Moylan, The Guardian, January 25, 2015)

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