Kokomo City (2023)

August 1st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: D Smith | US Doc 73′

If your idea of entertainment is watching a series of Black trans sex workers loudly lamenting their life, then Kokomo City is for you. More  impressive than anything though is the hyper-stylised way D Smith captures his subject. The glossy black and white images splash onto the screen at refreshingly odd angles: It all feels rather like flicking through a slick fashion magazine – maybe a trans version of Men’s Vogue or even that French erotic title NewLook (now out of publication).

Here we are in Atlanta and these women are seriously disgruntled behind their Barbie-style rigouts and fluttering black false eye lashes. Gesticulating at the camera with super sharp white painted talons and jutting chins, they offer advice about how to avoid that 5’clock shadow. But most of all they harp on about the trials and tribulations of satisfying the males that come to them for satisfaction – and how they do it better than cisgender females. There’s a raw, competitive edge to their narratives. And sometimes we feel for them. But after thirty minutes or so enough is enough. And while they rightly point out that no man wants to listen to women’s problems at the end of the day – that’s what is mostly dished up in this unique, cinematic and occasionally insightful kaleidoscope of American trans views. MT



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