Tangerines Screen 10 articles



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  • Urushadze retreats into basic war-film clichés as one character is killed shortly after believing the enemy has been neutralized. For all of the potential, historically specific revelations regarding nation and religion, Tangerines elects to become bathetic hokum, which is concretized by the final sequence as a surviving character solemnly jams to a pop track while driving off into the Georgian countryside.

  • The problems begin when the idyll ends and the film starts to transform into a war film with dread-filled suspense sequences and shocking outbursts of violence, which feel cynically engineered to heighten the narrative stakes. The shift from philosophical parrying to actual combat doesn’t make Tangerines more compelling; on the contrary, it suggests that the filmmakers didn’t have the confidence to tell their story without falling back on genre tropes.

  • Too blunt and didactic to convey the futility of war with the complexity the subject demands, Tangerines works primarily as a showcase for its trio of lead actors, who work hard to make their characters’ gradual yet quick thaw seem not just credible, but inevitable.

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    Sight & Sound: Anton Bitel
    September 07, 2015 | October 2015 Issue (p. 97)

    With shots typically framed to show Ivo between Ahmed and Nika, Tangerines is a plea for reconciliation and understanding in a world of belligerent opposition. Ivo's woodwork may eventually turn to coffin making (as in Yojimbo), but his is the kind of carpentry associated with the character and moral teachings of Jesus. This Estonian-Georgian co-production is a bittersweet non-epic that finds just the right balance between hope and despair.

  • Small in scale if huge in heart and scope, Tangerines uses four characters to limn the religio-nationalistic hostilities unleashed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992. But what a foursome! Or, actually, make that what a one.

  • Georgian writer-director Zaza Urushadze’s triumph is to extract a tough-minded, lucid, even gravely beautiful drama from this panorama of Eurasian chaos... It’s the rare film that’s sensitizing as well as horrifying. Nothing human is taken for granted.

  • Ivo’s farmhouse looks leftover from another century, which gives a timeless feeling, as does the regal bearing of Ulfsak and the dry humor of the script. The film telegraphs its pacifist message early on, but it’s still deeply affecting.

  • By the end, Georgian director-writer Zaza Urushadze has performed a small miracle by presenting the insanity of war in such a compact form. “Tangerine’s” insights might not be of the grandiose sort found in Hollywood’s massive battle epics. Nor are they unique. But they are perhaps even more affecting because of the film’s intimate scale.

  • Georgian director’s third feature is meticulously crafted. Composer Nias Diasamidze’s repetitive sad strings are appropriate for a story where winning is implausible. Ongoing slight, smooth camera movements reframe relationships and offset the threat of stasis. Urushadze and ace DP Rein Kotov go for strong, contrasting lighting effects not only for their beauty in this widescreen picture, but as another weapon against inertia.

  • Urushadze reels the high, impersonal stakes of war into concentrated domestic scenes that take place under this one roof. As events play out there is both the intimate meaning that has come to exist between characters and the symbolic meaning which is hugely moving.

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