Blu-Ray Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Read Owen Van Spall's film review of Tangerine
A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart in Tangerine.
"" | Photo: Radium

A revolutionary film in more ways than one, Tangerine broke new ground in demonstrating that a feature film could be made on an iPhone, permanently changing the way people thought about who could make movies. It also featured trans actors playing trans characters in an authentic setting, showing joy as well as tragedy and changing people's ideas about the kind of stories cinema could tell. It presented a story about life in the underclass which anybody could relate to, and it was a also simply a very good, entertaining film. These are all good reasons to add it to your collection, but here's one more: the package of extras assembled on this Blu-ray is simply extraordinary.

It begins with the audio commentary, which is delivered by LGBTQ+ film critic Rohan Spong and trans film critic Cerise Howard, again bringing trans perspectives to bear on trans stories. This is rewarding for the general audience as will become apparent early on, when they explain some of the characters' slang for untutored viewers' benefit (though it's probably worth adding here that the term 'tranny', whilst used among sex workers, is considered offensive by a lot of other trans people for precisely that reason; and that 'fish' isn't just a slang term for cis women, but implies that they are diseased - use it at your own risk). They are equally effective as guides to the filmmaking process, proving an analysis of shot choices, lighting, sound etc. which is informative without ever becoming dull. They have an easy rapport and it really pays dividends.

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If you want something more academic or philosophical in tone, Kat Ellinger's video essay should do the job, and there are several more to enjoy in the accompanying booklet. Balancing this is an extremely long (yet consistently entertaining) Making-of feature, which incorporates input from numerous members of the cast and crew and includes some informative behind-the-scenes footage. It's impressive how little of this overlaps with the eight (also quite substantial) individual interviews which follow. There are no weak links here and every one of them has an interesting story to tell, but the highlight, if you have the stomach for it, is Josh Sussman's rambling tale about the precise mixture of alcoholic beverages, pancakes and syrup he used in order to enable himself to vomit on queue in his taxi scene, the perils of acting whilst drunk, and what others on set resorted to in order to cope with it. Coupled with Mickey O'Hagan's tales about permitting herself to be slapped in the face and injuring herself in an accidental fall which stayed in the picture, it's a reminder of just what dedicated actors are prepared to put themselves through for the sake of their art.

Between all these things, there is a great deal of background here which has never previously been revealed in the public domain, making this a must-see for fans. Baker's ethical filmmaking practices, which draw on best practice methods used within the LGBTQ+ community and illustrate how these things can be done better in the mainstream, will be cheering for anyone frustrated by the corruption and abuses still very much present in the Hollywood system. Perhaps most cheering of all, however, is the contribution of Mya Taylor, whose life was transformed by her appearance in the film. Whilst the story in Tangerine illustrates the perils of social exclusion, the story of Tangerine illustrates what's possible when someone who has previously had to survive on the margins is given a real opportunity to demonstrate her talent.

Reviewed on: 18 Dec 2022
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A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.
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Read more Tangerine disc reviews:

Amber Wilkinson: DVD

Product Code: B0BNW32PKD

Region: 0

Extras: Audio commentary with Cerise Howard and Rohan Spong; Merry F*cking Christmas: the making of Tangerine; Staying Authentic: a new interview with director Sean Baker; Honest and Hilarious: a new interview with actor Mya Taylor; Legit Bruises: a new Interview with actor Mickey O'Hagan; The Magic Happens: a new interview with actor Karren Karagulian; Just Hold It In!: a new interview with actor Josh Sussman; We Make It Work: a new interview with cinematographer Radium Cheung; It Was Electric!: a new Interview with writer Chris Bergoch; Inside A Tangerine: a new interview with producer Darren Dean; To Be Real: Kat Ellinger on the Cinema of Sean Baker; Tangerine camera test; rigid slipcase with new artwork by Caelin White at FEM Design; 60-page book with new essays by Shaadi Devereaux, Caden Mark Gardner, Michelle Kisner and Jerome Reuter; an archive interview with Sean Baker; behind-the-scenes stills; 6 collectors' art cards

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