Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Tangerines": All Quiet on the Eastern Front 

Wednesday, May 6 2015

Have you heard this one? A Chechen and a Georgian lie wounded in an immigrant Estonian's house, circa 1992. While in his care, and recovering from a firefight in the front yard, they give him their word not to kill each other. Okay, no, it's not actually a joke. Not to be confused with Tangerine, singular, the buzzy iPhone-shot festival hit in which "transgender prostitutes go ballistic" (according to IndieWire), this is Tangerines, plural, a quieter if also conflict-attuned outing (and foreign-language Oscar nominee) from Georgian writer-director Zaza Urushadze. Being a heart-on-sleeve humanist, Urushadze doesn't get into the particulars of the civil war in question, as if not to dignify them. Being also an Eastern European, he very helpfully doesn't dignify sentimentalism either. Essentially a chamber-drama allegory, with a pleasing if simple structural exactitude, Tangerines takes its title from its setting, a war-defiled grove of citrus trees. It's powered by casually great, lived-in acting, particularly from Lembit Ulfsak as the old man under whose roof the gruff Chechen mercenary (Giorgi Nakashidze) and his sensitive young Georgian foe (Mikheil Meskhi) find themselves facing off. It may be said that Urushadze belabors his too-basic message about organized human brutality being arbitrary and unnatural. But then again, it is. 


About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"