CULTURE VULTURE, part 2: Sean Baker’s TANGERINE

August 17, 2015

8.15.15 Sean Baker’s film Tangerine is a pretty astonishing achievement. It’s a romantic comedy set entirely within the world of what some lowlife politically unconscious person would call “tranny hookers” in West Hollywood. Sin-Dee has just finished a month in jail, and she’s celebrating Christmas Eve over a jimmy-sprinkled doughnut with her BFF Alexandra when she finds out that her pimp boyfriend Chester has been cheating on her with a real woman, so she goes on a rampage until she locates the unfortunate gal and drags her all over town until she can confront Chester, who denies everything and proposes marriage in front of everybody, including the Armenian taxi driver whose wife and mother-in-law have only just now found out about his penchant for chicks with dicks.

It’s fast and funny as hell, a down and dirty portrait of LA you never see in Hollywood studio films, shot on location at Donut Time with side trips to a seedy motel-room brothel and an unforgettable trip through a car wash. The storytelling is comic book/fotonovela but nothing is softened or sweetened. The two transgender leads, Mya Taylor as Alexandra and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez as Sin-Dee (below), give fierce full-on performances, as does brave Karren Karagulian as Razmik, the cabbie. The kicker is when the final credits roll and you see that the entire film was shot on an iPhone 5s!

tangerine christmas

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