Filmmaker Sean Baker’s made a name for lo-fi, no-budget DIY films centering on those living on the margins without judgment and employing a lot of empathy. “Prince Of Broadway” focused on the lives of immigrants in America seeking ideals of family and love, while “Starlet” features the life of a porn actress who makes an unlikely friendship with an elderly lady. Baker has seemingly taken the same approach to his latest film, “Tangerine,” which made a big splash at Sundance earlier this year.
For one, “Tangerine” was entirely shot on an iPhone, so clearly Baker’s keeping the DIY methodology alive. And on the heels of trans breakouts like “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox and Alexandra Billings from “Transparent,” Baker’s film stars two actors who happen to be transgender prostitutes, but doesn’t really make a thing about it.
“Like a shot of vitamin C or a streak of a SoCal sunset, “Tangerine” is a stream of pure energy,” Katie Walsh wrote in her review from Sundance earlier this year. “Fresh, funny, original, and energetic, director Sean Baker’s film captures the seedy, gritty streets of Hollywood. It will surely ring true to many who know the town, but the film nonetheless refracts Los Angeles through the perspective of its two leading ladies, Sin-dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) and Alexandra (Mya Taylor).” Here’s the longform synopsis:
It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone, STARLET, “Generation Kill”) hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), 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.
READ MORE: Sundance Review: ‘Tangerine’ Is A Fresh, Funny, And Original Stream Of Pure Energy
Director Sean Baker’s prior films (STARLET, PRINCE OF BROADWAY) brought rich texture and intimate detail to worlds seldom seen on film. TANGERINE follows suit, bursting off the screen with energy and style. A decidedly modern Christmas tale told on the streets of L.A., TANGERINE defies expectation at every turn.
“Tangerine” will be released via Magnolia Pictures July 10th. Watch the first trailer below.