Sean Baker has been one of the more interesting independent filmmakers to break through into mainstream cinema in the last few years. He has built a career around capturing the stories of marginalised groups within the USA. While Red Rocket, The Florida Project and his breakthrough Tangerines have put him on the map, he’d been plugging away for years before he struck gold. In 2004, he co-wrote/directed Take Out with Shih-Ching Tsou.
Ming Ding (Charles Jang) is having a bad day. He’s dragged out of bed by the associates of a loan shark he owes money to and left in no doubt that he needs to find the money before the end of the day or else. He scrabbles to get money together before his shift as a delivery driver, but he’s still short. His best friend Young (Jeng-Hua Yu) offers to let him do all the deliveries for the tips. We follow Ming Ding as he cycles across the city in the pouring rain.
Take Out is a compelling portrait of life for undocumented Chinese migrants in America. The daily stress and struggle of trying to acclimatise to a new culture and language, while having to earn money to send home and pay people smugglers. The social-realist shooting style works perfectly for the subject matter, with the camera roaming freely, almost haphazardly. At the same time, the pressure gradually builds as the day trundles towards its end. Take Out is a scrappy and lo-fi portrait of life in the margins.
- New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by directors Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack
- Audio commentary featuring Baker, Tsou, and actor Charles Jang
- New interviews with Baker, Tsou, Jang, and actors Wang-Thye Lee and Jeng-Hua Yu
- Program about the making of the film
- Deleted scenes
- Screen test
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and author J. J. Murphy
Take Out is released on Blu-Ray as part of the Criterion Collection in the UK on 17 October.