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Shane Carruth's New Film, UPSTREAM COLOR, Plays Sundance!

Nordling here.

I meant to do a full write-up of the movies playing the Sundance Film Festival this January, and I may still do so, but hearing that Shane Carruth has a new movie opening makes me incredibly happy.  I picked PRIMER as the best time travel movie of all time. and I still believe that.  It's passionate, very intelligent, and to hell with you if you can't keep up.  Carruth has been working on other projects since PRIMER's release, and out of the blue, apparently, he has a finished film playing Sundance this year called UPSTREAM COLOR.  And, as expected, the synopsis couldn't be more vague:

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.

I have no idea what that means, exactly.  Is this a science fiction film?  A romance?  Something more surreal and thought-provoking?  It's probably all of those things.  Whatever Carruth has cooked up, I'm there.  Here's some images from the movie, courtesy of (where you can download PRIMER!):

UPSTREAM COLOR opens at Sundance in January, then later this spring.  I wish I was at Sundance this year to find out what this is.  Either way, I can't wait.

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST


    by Bruce Thomas Wayne

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:28 p.m. CST


    by Secretagentnumber6

    I have been waiting for Carruth to make another movie since seeing Primer, which I also rank as the best Time Travel movie ever made. Great news, cannot wait to check this out.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:31 p.m. CST


    by Brian

    Carruth did a low budget BENCHMARK movie. Primer was riveting and smart and crazy. Hopefully his follow-up will be even 1/2 as cool and clever. Thumbs up.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Will we need a Ph.D to understand this movie, too?

    by Bill Clay

    Because trying to figure out Primer gave me a headache. I think Willis' line in Looper about time travel rules being too complicated to explain was a subtle joke about Primer.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    bill clay

    by Secretagentnumber6

    Willis' line in Looper about time travel was an attempt to get the audience to stop thinking about how off the time travel concept in Looper was. Great movie nonetheless.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:44 p.m. CST

    is this from his Topiary script??

    by la te ral us

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:47 p.m. CST

    been waiting YEARS for a follow up from him!

    by la te ral us

    It's probably next to impossible to nail a first feature harder than he did with Primer.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 8:51 p.m. CST

    This calls for Modest Mouse lyrics:

    by ChaunceyGardiner

    When it occurred to me That the animals are swimming Around in the water In the oceans in our bodies And another had been found Another ocean on the planet, Given that our blood is just like the Atlantic. And how the universe Is shaped exactly like the earth. If you go straight long enough You'll end up where you were.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 10:12 p.m. CST


    by Jeff

    This is excellent news! I too have been waiting patiently for Shane Carruth's next film, and "Upsteam Color" sounds appropriately out-there and intense. Sweet. Also -- good lyrics post, chaunceygardiner. Modest Mouse, eh? I'll have to check that out.

  • Nov. 28, 2012, 11:19 p.m. CST


    by ROBRAM89

    I cannot vocalize how badly I've wanted this guy to make another movie. When I saw the headline my eyes actually widened.

  • Skip to 7:01 in the video. This would definitely a hard idea to portray in film, but could be very cool and unique if handled well on screen.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 5:10 a.m. CST

    This is the best news I've heard ina long time

    by WerePlatypus

    I hoping for something amazing, but also preparing for a jumbled, incomprehensible disaster. I love Primer, so I'm rooting for the amazing. . .

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 5:29 a.m. CST

    lv_426 - watched the video.

    by WerePlatypus

    I think the Hyper-entity must be a kind of ouroboros. . . after all, we are animals, so we need to masticate and consume organic matter to fuel our respiration, which is technically other cells in this same hyper-organism. The energy from the sun beams down and grows the roots of this thing, but as the tendrils grow and start to move, they adapt by eating other parts. It's most mobile, intelligent parts can no longer feel/use the sun anymore, and must sustain itself on other tendrils. So a billion years ago, this interconnected web of life is violated by a cancer cell we call the Comb Jelly (an animal), which evolved to feed on organic matter. The more I think about it, the more this hyper-entity feels like a horror story. . .

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 6:46 a.m. CST

    What happened to A Topiary?

    by quicksilver80

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 8:01 a.m. CST


    by MrWug

    It's been so long since Primer I assumed Shane was a one and done director.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Primer was OK, at least the parts that were in focus

    by larrydart

    Hope he either had an outside DP for this, or bought a tape measure.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Had to rewatch Primer


    2 or 3 times and really concentrate to nearly understand it all. I read an explanation online and alot really goes on behind the scenes as we the viewer only stay with the "prime" versions (or so we think) of the 2 main characters. The other versions are there doing stuff but we dont see it. I love the film but rewatch now and again when my brain is ready to try and "get" more of it.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 1:31 p.m. CST

    UnKill Romance.

    by Bigdada

    Can't wait for this.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST


    by emteem

    What I love about it is that it's almost more like you're overhearing a movie than actually watching one. I wouldn't want all moves to be made that way, but it was cool. Carruth consulted on Looper with regards to the time travel rules.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 2:48 p.m. CST

    I am an ass.

    by MoistMuskyCamelToe

    I've had Primer in my instant play queue for like, forever. Kept telling myself I'd watch it. But oh, no, I just have to watch the next episode of Walking Dead or Tremors 3 or Dora the Explorer or whatever fucking garbage I start watching at 3 am. So I just checked my queue and *poof* Primer is gone. Fuck. Okay, time to start up my dvd rentals again. Sigh.

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 4:32 p.m. CST



    Weird to hear that as that movies rules were all over the place. Primers were very specific and really well done

  • Nov. 29, 2012, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Ageless orgasm?

    by Metroid_Fetish

    Is that like having sex with a pregnant lady? Just kidding, women don't orgasm.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 8:55 a.m. CST


    by emteem

    I just re-checked my information, and I guess Carruth worked on visual effects for the time travel... whatever that means.

  • Nov. 30, 2012, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Primer had so many problems

    by Humie Bubbie

    That party scene that was only actually talked about instead of scene kind of killed it for me. Here's an integral scene for the story, and you just talk about it because what, you can't get enough people in the room to shoot it? Never understood that.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 7:18 a.m. CST

    Party scene? No way. . .

    by WerePlatypus

    Which version do you think the audience should have seen? There were so many. For me, it's brilliant that it's never seen.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Agree were


    Also they discuss so many outcomes to the party before they perfect it, so which one would we see? The last....why, why see only the end product and not what went wrong so many times before the "perfect moment" was attained?

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    I hope this director hasn't been driking the "Occupy" Kool-Aid

    by Teddy Artery

    Sounds a bit Communistic equating individuals to cells in a organism.

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST

    wereplatypus -- I like that idea

    by lv_426

    Hell, reminds me of the lifecycle of the Aliens. Prometheus could have gone into some of this kind of thing, perhaps to explain the motivations of the Engineers a bit better, not completely, but less vague at least.