Staff Picks: TANGERINE
August 31 only
“What’s extraordinary about Tangerine is that it’s everything an entertaining, old-fashioned, mainstream Hollywood comedy should be but no longer is.” – David Edelstein
Our enigmatic Mx. Janitor’s pick was shot on an iPhone by director Sean Baker and follows working girl Sin-Dee as she tears through L.A. on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.
This refreshingly hilarious and raunchy comedy follows scrappy transgender sex worker besties Sin-Dee and Alexandra on a wild night in L.A. filled with sassy repartee (“Merry Christmas, bitch”), adultering pimps, nightclub debuts, and capital d D-RAMA!
Transgender besties Sin-Dee and Alexandra (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor) are having a reunion. Sin-Dee has just returned from a 28-day stint in prison and is on the hunt for her boyfriend (and pimp) Chester, last rumored to be sleeping with a girl who has like, vagina and everything. Alexandra doesn’t need this drama, as she is busy trying to drum up an audience for her big cabaret debut. Meanwhile, an Armenian cab driver (Karren Karagulian) patrols the neighborhood, picking up fares, and maybe a little something extra. Yep, it’s just another Christmas Eve in West Hollywood.
Tangerine is a bubbly, sassy slice of life that is part John Waters and part Duplass Brothers (who co-produced). Director Sean Baker’s innovative production was filmed entirely on an iPhone 5s, which not only looks astounding but allowed for unobtrusive, street-level intimacy. Tangerine is fierce and sweet, farcical and tender, and features fully realized transgender characters that are complex, real, and able to toss off classic dialogue that will be repeated for years.
Dir Sean Baker 2015 USA 89 mins
Shooting on an iPhone 5s
Principal photography for Tangerine took place in Hollywood, California (including West Hollywood clubs and Santa Monica Boulevard) on Christmas Eve 2013 and wrapped on January 18, 2014. After viewing iPhone experiments on Vimeo, Baker and Radium Cheung shot the film using three iPhone 5s smartphones. The money saved on camera equipment was used to pay for shooting locations and to pay extras. They used the FiLMIC Pro app, a video app (to control focus, aperture and color temperature, as well as capture video clips at higher bit-rates) and an anamorphic adapter from Moondog Labs (to capture widescreen). They also used Tiffen’s Steadicam Smoothee to capture smooth moving shots.