Popcorn Taxi & Palace Films proudly present Upstream Color + Q&A with director, Shane Carruth, LIVE from Paris!
Almost a decade a go we got Shane Carruth’s debut film Primer; the astonishing, $7000 debut fired straight at the heart of the international film community. It was a time-travel movie so innovative that it surpassed Robert Zemeckis’ Flux Capacitor in making us believe in the unbelievable. And Carruth’s legend grew when the closing credits revealed him to be the one-man band behind it all. Like the very best debut films, his breakthrough reminded audiences and peers alike that: yes, you can do that.
Carruth’s second film Upstream Color is another giant leap forward: ambitious in scope and theme, and an innovative and compelling experiment into the unknown.
As with Primer, all pleasantries are cast aside and it’s down to business immediately. A mysterious man is conducting a series of experiments with a special batch of maggots found underneath upstream orchards. It’s all very nice and intriguing until, without warning, the man uses his findings to commit an unspeakable act of cruelty towards the unsuspecting Kris (Amy Seimetz). And Carruth has us just like that. The illusion is in motion. It’s a powerful kind of violence; the kind you can empathise with.
Carruth stays firmly in control of his ideas and shows a genuine love story between Kris and Jeff (Carruth), a fellow commuter, loosely reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Upstream Color is a challenging and divisive experience. A grand film. A film that was cheered for at the Sydney Film Festival. Once again, Carruth wears his unprecedented film authorship as a badge of honour in the closing credits: he is writer, director, producer, actor, cinematographer, creator of original music and co-editor.
Complete with obsessive creators, a heart-pounding mystery, and oh, so many pigs, finally, we know a little bit more about the artistic inclinations of the auteur that is Shane Carruth.
“Upstream Color is more overt in its symbolism than Primer, and I’m okay with that. I feel like things have taken a weird turn in films. The meaning or symbolism… or maybe literary value in film seems to have reached a point where it can either only be so simplistic that it’s not interesting, or so obscure that it’s difficult to tear apart. I think what I’m interested in, getting back to things that are almost as easy to understand as fables.”
- Shane Carruth
Our Guest: Shane Carruth
“My aim as a filmmaker is, by the end credits, to have delivered an emotional arc—and, hopefully, a somewhat cohesive narrative. My aim is not to sum everything up and make everything that is telegraphing meaning to necessarily be known by the end. I don’t shy away from denseness. I want there to be a cipher of some kind that gives the audience confidence that the film is purposeful and placed in there for a reason, and hopefully there’s some fraction of that coming across by the end.”
- Shane Carruth