Shane Carruth is a filmmaking name that everyone should know, but unfortunately very few do. He crashed into the independent film industry limelight after his sublime 2004 science fiction masterpiece; Primer debuted at Sundance, winning the Grand Jury Prize. Primer went on to win several more accolades and the respect of astounded cinephiles the world over.
Primer is, simply put, one of the best films ever made about time travel. Looking at the credits of Rian Johnson’s 2012 filmmaking catastrophe Looper, it seems a shame that Johnson deliberately called out Primer as an influence – which is strange because Looper is a horrific mess full of holes and Primer is practically revolutionary. The fact that this film was made for under $7000 is an absolute miracle! If you haven’t seen Primer yet – well, what are you waiting for?
It’s been nine years, but Shane Carruth is finally returning to film this year with his new feature, Upstream Color; a creative romantic thriller blended with science fiction elements. It was shown recently at Sundance, much like his original debut and was met with similar praise and fanfare. Upstream Color promises to be extremely confusing and bizarre, which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the director.
Carruth is a veritable one-man-band of filmmaking, handling directing, writing, starring, editing, cinematography, composing and producing duties to maintain complete independent control. It’s this level of tenacity and vision that enhances the feel of his work. It’s crazy to think that this is close to just one guy following his idea all the way to conclusion, on a shoestring budget and managing to create such complex, beautiful and challenging works of art. I cannot stress just how phenomenal he is as a filmmaker.
The early reviews for Upstream Color have been overwhelmingly positive, citing it as a sumptuous thought-provoking film with minimal use of dialogue in parts, accomplished through exceptional technical filmmaking to create an obscure and deep narrative.
The synopsis for the film describes it as:
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
Seems pretty vague, right? Here’s the trailer:
Confused? You should be. I have no doubt in my mind that this will be a challenging, but ultimately gratifying meditative piece of cinema about life and relationships. I’m truly looking forward to this film as it will most likely be a top contender for best film of 2013.
Shane Carruth plans to completely distribute the film himself through select theatres and digital means. It’ll start making the rounds on April 5th 2013. Make sure you find a way to see it this year.