Character Analysis Of Tangerine

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The notion that men and women should behave according to their gender roles has been ingrained into the subconscious of many. Tangerine defies gender norms through its portrayal of gender fluid characters. A great example of a character who possesses both masculine and feminine character traits is the main character, Sindee. The film begins with Sindee, a transgendered prostitute, getting out of jail and finding out that her pimp boyfriend has been cheating on her. In finding the girl that her boyfriend cheated on her with, Sindee proves to be a strong and independent lead character. This contrasts the typical feminine character as “... femininity is typically defined as small, demure, submissive, and emotionally dependent.” (Wadenius). Sindee…show more content…
The camera frames Sindee as smaller than the male character, showing that the male has control of the situation. When Sindee seems to get impatient with the male character, the framing changes and so does Sindee’s attitude. Now the framing indicates that Sindee is the dominant character as she loudly demands him to tell her where Chester is. At one point in the film during a conversation with Alexandra, she references life saying, “Yeah, it is cruel, God gave me a penis.”. Sindee defies the concept that one must identify with the sex they were born into as she identifies as a female, though she was born male. In showing characters as diverse and complex as Sindee, Tangerine represents its transgendered characters in a more honest and diverse way than many Hollywood…show more content…
Hollywood films often look polished due to the use of cinematic cameras. Sean Baker chose to use an iPhone camera as it would give the film a harsher and more gritty appearance. Tangerine is set in Hollywood and there are many shots that show the city looking unattractive and dingy. These shots serve as a stark contrast to the bright shots set against the sunset and the colorful shots of the Christmas lights seen in the night. Like the cinematography, the music and the editing also convey different tones that seem to contrast each other. The film begins with a calmly paced, Christmas themed piece consisting of melodic violins, dreamy bells, and bouncy piano chords. As soon as the song finishes, the first lines of the film, “Merry Christmas Eve bitch.” are said. Throughout the rest of film, as Sindee walks the streets looking for Chester and Dinah, loud electronic music plays and the fast paced editing adds to the energy. In later scenes, the music, editing and cinematography come together to convey a calmer more intimate tone. For example, when Dinah and Sindee stare into each others’ eyes in the bathroom, the lighting is colorful, the music is quiet, and the scene is edited such that the pace slows down and the audience can take in the moment.
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