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A big-hearted film shot on a small phone, this LA tale of two transgender working girls out for vengeance fizzes with wild energy.
Director: Sean Baker
One of the year’s great indie hits, Tangerine is the fizzing, popping tale of two transgender working girls on Santa Monica Boulevard set over the course of one Christmas Eve. Just returned from a brief stint in jail, Sin-Dee Rella meets her best friend Alexandra and discovers that Chester, her beau, has been cheating on her with a ‘white fish’ (a Caucasian female-born woman). Determined to teach her a lesson, Sin-Dee goes on a hunt for Chester’s new girl.
Remarkably, considering the richness of the bold, saturated colour and widescreen photography, Baker and his co-cinematographer, Radium Cheung filmed this on iPhone 5s, grabbing most scenes with just two cameras and dolly shots filmed from cycles. The result is a film of urgency and veracity, with charming performances from transgender non-actors Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. From donut shop to Hollywood dive bar, the comedy of hair pulling and bitch slapping gives way to something altogether more tender and unexpected: a film about female friendship and solidarity.