“Kokomo City”


Metacritic (7/10), Letterboxd (3,5/5), Imdb.com  (7/10), TMDB.com (3.5/5)

I often find it fascinating when a documentary provides viewers with an in-depth, inside look at a world seldom seen by those who aren’t part of it, yet that’s clearly the greatest strength of this debut feature from filmmaker D. Smith. This captivating examination of the lives of four African-American transgender sex workers in New York, Atlanta and Miami shares stories of their experiences, their outlooks on their vocation and how they view themselves in relation to the Black community at large. It also features interviews with the clients and supporters of these individuals and how they relate to one another, both as objects of desire and sometimes as loving, adoring friends/partners. Beautifully shot in black-and-white, the film holds little back in telling the stories of its subjects, both in terms of dialogue and images (so sensitive viewers take note). And, for its efforts, the picture has been widely honored by film festivals and critics associations, as well as a recipient of best documentary nominations by the Independent Spirit Awards, the Critics Choice Documentary Awards and the Directors Guild of America. That’s quite an impressive pedigree for a film that might not have even been made not all that long ago. It’s a real testament to how far we – and cinema – have come over the years.