Wednesday, May 13, 2015

[Review] Tangerines

Tangerines (not to be confused with the iPhone-shot, transgender themed Tangerine, which arrives later this year) is an Estonian picture that recently received a Foreign Language Oscar nomination, and it's finally gotten a stateside release.

It's the year 1992 and the Georgia /Abkhazian conflict is brewing. An Estonian farmer named Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) lives alone and grows tangerines in a village where mostly everyone else has fled. The sounds of gunshots can be heard in the distance, and the battles eventually trudge closer and closer to his front yard. A peaceful man, Ivo invites a couple of wounded soldiers (from both sides) into his home, in order to nurse them back to health. So of course, conflict arises under his own roof between the individuals. But in the spirit of the most optimistic war tales--the opposing soldiers begin to realize that they are more alike than different.

I know some people stray away from these Eastern European dramas, as they can be overlong and tedious in some cases, but Tangerines is only 84 minutes or so. You also don't have to be super familiar with the specific social, geographical, and political climate, because this story is a fairly simplified and universal presentation. That said, there are still some slow parts here, and the film could really use a little more juice within the narrative to uproot the place of the plodding strolls and dinner table conversations.

The film brings about a few moments of compassionate emotion toward the end, making the low-key preceding events a little more worth it. However, Tangerines isn't necessarily a film you'd want to sit through twice, and it doesn't exactly scream Foreign Language Oscar nominee. There just isn't enough urgency or momentum to fully sting or move.


No comments:

Post a Comment