Tangerine is one of those films where the moment you start watching it, you immediately think: "Okay, what's going on here? This is amazing! Who wrote this?!"
Meet Sean Baker, director and co-writer of Tangerine. His latest film, The Florida Project, just saw a limited release on October 6th. For anyone who follows screenwriters, these two films make a strong case that Sean Baker is the new guy to follow.
In an interview with Film Courage, Baker named Harold and Maude as one of his favorite films. This turns out to be a pretty solid reference point for his work, given the elements running through the classic 70s dark comedy: social commentary, playful rebelliousness, strong characters experiencing a sense of destiny, memorable symbolism...
While Baker's latest filmmaking work follows in the tradition of older comedies, he's definitely charting his own territory, takings risks, and exerting his artistic vision with force and some measure of calculated chaos. Tangerine, for example, isn't really an update to the tradition of Harold and Maude -- it's like Harold and Maude directed by a young Harmony Korine. It's got all the grit and nuttiness of Korine's Gummo, but with a coherent screenplay.
Speaking of which, you can read the full screenplay for Tangerine online.
To get a true introduction to the work of Sean Baker, start by watching Greg the Bunny, a humorous TV show Baker co-created in the early 2000s. It's not the world's best television, but it shows Baker's knack for comedy and controlled chaos.