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Shane Carruth Offers Up An Eerily Effective Teaser For UPSTREAM COLOR!


Beaks here...

According to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival program, Shane Carruth's UPSTREAM COLOR is about "a man and a woman... entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives." So no quirk-heavy romantic comedy this time out, Shane? Damn.

UPSTREAM COLOR is, of course, Carruth's long-awaited follow-up to his sci-fi classic PRIMER, and we've now got a teaser to go along with that cryptic logline. It's available in HD at Apple's trailer site, or you can watch the embed below (I recommend checking it out at the former).

UPSTREAM COLOR will premiere next January at Sundance. Hopefully, we won't have to wait long for a theatrical release.


Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:08 p.m. CST

    I love you Shane!

    by NuckyThompson

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Upstream Color...

    by FilmBuf82

    Part Two of the "What the..?" trilogy.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Primer was vastly too intelligent for me but enjoyable nonetheless.

    by kindofabigdeal

    I just pretend to know the concepts and big words that are used like I'm hearing technobabble being discussed between Geordi and Data.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    bout time!

    by kurtisaurus

    I've been wondering when he'd come out with something new to baffle us some more. Sweet!

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST

    XORN! It's Xorn at the beginning!

    by spacehog

    aka I have NO IDEA what I just watched but I'm going to watch the fuck out of this movie.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Dammit, Shane!

    by Randy_of_AFTimes

    You gave everything away in that trailer! Guess I'll have to see it anyway...

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Aren't we all made from the material of the sun?

    by justmyluck

  • I'm in the middle camp with Primer. I liked it, it was exciting film making, and the parts I could follow were the tits. But it was also way too smart for me personally. I'm comfortable to say without bragging I'm very smart, but I'm no genius, and I didn't understand a lot of the words being thrown around for one, so its hard to grasp concepts when the basic words being used don't even make sense. Anyways, I'm obviously going to see this, but this trailer is pretty friggin' alienating already. No idea what to expect. I certainly love the opening line. "I have to apologize, but I was born with a disfigurement where my head is made of the same material as the sun." ....grrrreat.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:49 p.m. CST


    by Nordling


  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:56 p.m. CST

    that feeling of dread

    by JFilm101

    That Shane is able to convey in the teaser is something else. Has a feeling of early Cronenberg in a way for me, good stuff!

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 2:59 p.m. CST

    This screams "art house".

    by Breotan

    Hopefully it will be less mind numbing than The Road.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    So it's basically the same story as Gigli

    by mcflash

    Think about it.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:06 p.m. CST

    The only part of that trailer that I found effective was...

    by Royston Lodge

    ...From The Writer and Director of Primer. If not for that brief moment, it would be dogshit.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Intelligence and Accessibility: Time Travel!

    by Arguendo

    I don't think I found Primer than inaccessible, but, then again, I wasn't trying to understand the underlying mechanics of the thing -- just the important ones. You have a box. You get in in the future, you come out in the past. The rest is just normal time travel shenanigans, but with a bit more of a human flavor. I'm not sure if I buy the movie as being particularly intelligent or unintelligent. Frankly, I'm not sure whether it being "intelligent" refers to the nature of time travel or the movie being creative/clever/well-plotted/honest/thought-inducing/etc. I'm a bit skeptical of the former and of the latter, I thought it was more about exploring relationships rather making some grander argument that we were meant to disentangle. That noted, I'm curious what @freebeer considers a more intelligent time travel movie. All I can think of off the top of my head are: Bill & Ted, Back to the Future, Star Trek: Nemesis (and a few others -- the whale one?), The Visitors (French), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Terminator, [if you count time dilation-esque things] Idiocracy, Planet of the Apes, Encino Man, Brigadoon, and if you count time repetition Ground Hog Day, Run Lola Run (German), and Butterfly Effect (? never saw it ?). I would find Planet of the Apes, Brigadoon, Ground Hog Day, and Run Lola Run competitive (each for their own reasons) for "intelligence," although it probably just depends on the mood I'm in. Idiocracy, despite it's aspirations as socio-political commentary, comes across as a bit too obvious/trite for my tastes.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Terrence Malick goes sci-fi...

    by TheSeeker7

  • ...Aside from the impressively dense and authentic sounding techo babble in Primer, I don't think they used the time travel device to tell a particularly intelligent story. I'd say other films have used time travel to greater effect, in terms of exploring grander themes and taking our characters on a journey. I'd rate Twelve Monkeys above Primer in terms of intelligent film making, probably Groundhog Day and Time Crimes too.

  • They go to investigate some ghost ship from the World War II era and get separated in time. The episode used split screen techniques to show what was happening in both time periods.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Can't wait to see this!

    by animatronicmojo

    And then visit Wikipedia to find out what the plot was.

  • Planet of the Apes Aliens Demolition Man I mean, just compare Demolition Man to Primer. Nothing in Primer was as mysterious as the never shown *three seashells* that supposedly replaced toilet paper in the future.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Primer is great but nothing close to being a classic..

    by kingoflight

    I am not knocking the movie but that's the wrong choice of words. Back to the topic, The first line alone has me hooked i am just aching to know what he means by that lol.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Don't forget about Time Cop. Intelligent film making at it's peak.

    by kindofabigdeal

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    And the Superman where he makes the earth spin backwards.

    by kindofabigdeal

    Unlinke sling shotting around the sun.

  • But I still think your wrong. Primer is awesome. The fact that another time travel movie is awesome doesn't take anything away from Primer's awesomeness. And what techno babble? I've watched it at least 5 times, and they make no attempt to explain how the machine's work. They only explain the effects of the machines.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 4:12 p.m. CST

    It doesn't rule

    by jemagee

    It doesn't make any sense but appeals to hipster douches who think it's cool to make movies that make no sense and confuse people. God this site is headed down the toilet you self referential gob slobbers, jumping on any 'indy cock' you can to get them to talk to you CREDIBILITY - you no haz it

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Primer is pretty brilliant, 12 monkeys is right up there too

    by brechtsky

    It's been a couple years since I rewatched it, but primer had a great plot, and it treated its audience intelligently, which is something I hate in time travel,, the need to explain everything five ways and with a simile in order to get all the morons up to speed... And yeah the techno babble was good-sounding, but it was the realistic take on discovering it accidentally, in a storage warehouse, etc.. and going back in time a day, or two, using it for small, personal reasons, etc, that made it so good... Plus first time director/writer/actor/editor/composer, who was an engineer prior, had friend actors, and a tiny ass budget-- the chances it was going to be so good were like 0 ... But it was awesome, plain and simple... That movie is fricking gold, in my opinion..cant wait for this one.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST

    That first shot when the ice cubes stop spinning

    by quicksilver80

    I liked it, a lot

  • ... Where hydrogen is built into helium, at a temperature of millions of degrees!

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Hipster catnip.

    by loafroaster

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong some.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:32 p.m. CST

    It isn't techno babble

    by Mel Gibsteinberg

    As an Engineer who works with a lot of smart dudes at a Biotech company, watching them problem solve and explain the occurrences of the machine was totally believable for me. I thought the language in the film was articulate, clever, and had a complete ring of truth. There was nothing hipster or pseudo-cool about it, Shane's from Texas, this isn't some ironic t-shirt wearing, balding, bearded, horn rimmed glasses sporting hipster from Williamsburg, its a dude with a degree in Mathematics who wanted a movie about scientists to sound like scientists actually talk. The rest of you complaining either didn't get it (sorry, I hate smugness, but in this case I think it did go over your head if you didn't get it) or haven't actually seen it and are just making it up. Also considering the movie came out in 2004, its likely that many of you saw it when you were younger and couldn't comprehend what you saw. Go back and re-watch, its pretty dern great!

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST


    by Mel Gibsteinberg

    I think he did. He said 12 Monkeys, Groundhog Day, and Time Crimes. I disagree that these were smarter or more effective though, these are just different movies. I think the key difference is that these films were "high concept" where the time travel element was used as a function of a fantastical storyline. The brilliance of Primer to me, was that it felt authentic, that you could almost believe that two dudes accidentally built a time machine in their garage, similar to Steve Jobs creating Apple or the Wright brothers building an airplane. It wasn't a movie about the end of the world, or a comedy exploring some Twilight Zone type adventure, or a heist flick, it was about scientific discovery and what happens when you first make a massive discovery and the moral choices that come with it.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:52 p.m. CST

    The three seashells are shown but you never see how they work.

    by Adelai Niska

    And I still love Demolition Man's chryo process, where you're encased in goo that gets instantly frozen by that blue orb.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST

    I officially don't know what the hell to think about this.

    by Bill C.

    I think theseeker7 pegged it: this is a very Malickian trailer, which probably works for AND against the movie itself. And what the hell was with the tree chopping?

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:59 p.m. CST


    by Johnny Wrong

    ...Groundhog Day's a cracking film, but it's not really a time travel movie, per se. Time Crimes is really good, as is 12 Monkeys, but neither are "more intelligent" than Primer. On a par, sure, but not in any way superior in IQ points. Try again, Mr Freebeer.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 7:10 p.m. CST


    by la te ral us

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Is this from his "Topiary" script??

    by la te ral us

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 7:18 p.m. CST

    as a science project it was ok

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    as a movie it suuuuuuuucked

  • I think it's a shit trailer. If it wasn't From The Writer And Director Of Primer, people would be shitting all over it for telling us nothing about the fucking movie. Here's some random shit. Come see my movie.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 8:25 p.m. CST

    This is a different project than "A Topiary"

    by panicdawg

    He always said he had this and that film both in development, and wasn't really sure which one he'd get to first. I love the teaser, and completely agree that Primer is a "classic". Considering it's the most technically flawless time-travel movie ever created, of course I'm excited about anything he does. And look out for the principle actress in the film... her name is Amy Seimetz and she's an old friend of mine. She's popped up in a ton of indie films lately but she's a fantastic actress and this could very well be a "breakout" role for her.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 8:28 p.m. CST

    panicdawg: Hey, at least you admit you're biased.

    by Royston Lodge

    Good for you. ;-)

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 8:37 p.m. CST

    great teaser

    by Jared

    sets the mood and tone of the film without giving anything away. cannot wait to see this. love Primer.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 8:58 p.m. CST

    I have no idea what I just saw in that teaser,

    by NoQuarter

    but I'm somewhat intrigued. Probably wouldn't spend $12-15 to see it at my local arthouse theater, though. I also haven't seen Primer (though I've heard it's good!), so maybe I would be more enthusiastic if I had.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 10:55 p.m. CST

    Thanks freebeer (and others)

    by Arguendo

    freebeer: I didn't mean to be incendiary, and I appreciate your perspective. I really was interested in what you thought were more intelligent. I agree with mel that I think it's a matter of perspective. I agree that 12 Monkeys has a grander scope and sociopolitical message. I've not seen Time Crimes. Groundhog Day, as I noted originally, is something that I think is intelligent insomuch that it is witty and clever, although the tale of personal growth is a bit trite. What I do like about Primer is that I think it's intent is to be much more of a real-world character study and I think it achieves this purpose fairly well. I would distinguish 12 Monkeys (in particular) and Groundhog Day (to a certain degree) as movies that start of with the premise: "This is something that we want to say. This is how we'll say it." Whereas Primer starts with a premise of: "How would something like this affect real people?" The former lends itself to a much more structured argument (and asks viewers to interpret what the filmmakers are saying). The latter is more exploratory and induces more self-reflection. All that said, I do actually enjoy 12 Monkeys and Groundhog Day as movies more so than Primer. I just don't think that Primer should be written off because it doesn't come packaged with a special message from the film-maker. kindofabigdeal: I looked it up... I was actually thinking of Star Trek: Generations (where Picard meets Kirk). Damn, Star Trek movies use time travel a lot. I realized after I finished my post -- but was too lazy to repost -- that technically the Abrams Star Trek is a time travel story as well.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 10:55 p.m. CST

    Also I agree that the trailer wasn't particularly compelling.

    by Arguendo

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Technobabble is a good thing

    by Glenn

    ...sometimes. It helps legitimize the characters onscreen. It's not always necessary that we the audience understand the person's work -- I mean, do I really wanna know the intricate details of health insurance work, or how an airplane operates, or _______ during a movie? Get my drift? It's only important that I know the people IN the movie know what they're talking about. And if you think I'm full of shit -- when Spielberg was going to direct Deep Impact, he had them writing drafts of the screenplay FULL of technobabble between the astronauts for this very same reason. When someone states that everything in a movie should be understood by everyone, then we ALL get dragged down to the dumbest person's intellect and/or areas of knowledge. It's called lowest common denominator factor, and if you ain't heard that term before (and didn't roll your eyes the minute I spelled it out), then YOU ARE the lowest common denominator.

  • ...I tried to make it clearer in my second post. Going back to argeudos post where he says... Frankly, I'm not sure whether it being "intelligent" refers to the nature of time travel or the movie being creative/clever/well-plotted/honest/thought-inducing/etc. Well, I meant the latter, of course. A film with a very well thought out and explained, perhaps ad nauseam, theory on the nature of time travel and it's effects, cannot be a considered a great film without being also creative/clever/well-plotted/honest/thought-inducing/ etc. For me (my opinion, don't eat me), there are other movies that use the time travel device to tell more interesting stories. Primer may be intelligent in a lot of ways (explaining the occurrences of the machine), but it focused too much on the story telling device, and not enough on the story itself. I think it made a better Discovery Channel Special "What If..." type show than a great piece of cinema.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:13 p.m. CST

    Teaser vs Trailer

    by Glenn

    I'm in. I am very glad the film has some tantalizing imagery even if I can't make the connections just yet. I'll take that any day over the rampant Hollywood approach of spelling every single fucking goddamn pipsqueaking plot point and record-scratch-inducin' laugh 6 months ahead of time. And no, it's not Malick like. His trailers are somber and quiet. This has strange music and scientific-violent stuff with a bit of nature thrown in (that's the cliche Malick-decryers cling to), with a weird opening grab-line. Again, feel free to not like it. But appreciate that it's not insulting your intelligence and disappointing your wallet so far ahead of the premiere.

  • ....when you posted this... Lets not confuse, imagination and deep thinking with quality and great film making. Primer is a bold, imaginative effort. Its NOT a truly great movie. by ginge_muppet

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:15 p.m. CST

    I have one question for Shane Carruth...

    by SK229

    What the fuck have you been living on the last 8 years? Did he write scripts or do uncredited rewrites like Richard Kelly after Donnie Darko? Did he have an overall deal that pays for his offices/life with a studio like many directors that don't work that much (Aronofsky) do? Or did he go back to being an engineer for a while?Seriously, I think Primer won some kind of scientific cash grant of like 25k or something, and I think Primer was picked up by a distributor that was notorious for not paying out any points, so really, what has he been living off of? I'm always curious about this after people hit with one film and then don't make anything else for many years. James Gray and Andrew Dominik are two others. I actually thought he'd never make another film, so this is exciting. I'm a little disappointed he put himself in the lead again, though. Like dude... come on... it's ok to trust other people. What I got from any Primer BTS stuff is he is an incredibly intelligent person who planned his film out so well (checking the lighting for each shot first with color slide film?), that he wasn't about to let any tech nerdy types come in and say, "oh you can't do this, you need this, that, and the other..." He says as much in many interviews. That anyone he brought in seemed to want to complicate the technical part, so he'd just get rid of them and do it himself cause he knew it was simple. But that's fine once... broaden your scope a little bit. Even the house looks the same as the one in Primer. Mixed feelings but will definitely give it a shot. It also must be a tremendously tough act to follow.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Technobabble vs Intelligent Filmmaking

    by Arguendo

    Thanks for sk229 for mentioning it, but, let's look at yet another time travel movie, Donnie Darko. In this regard, I think that technobabble *can* get in the way of good storytelling. I actually much prefer the theatrical cut to the director's cut (sacrilege!), because the theatrical cut made the story much more compelling as a family drama and a hero's sacrifice. I think Richard Kelly was so enamored with his time travel plot device that the director's cut places too much of an emphasis on something that -- as far as the story goes -- really isn't that important. In a non-time travel context, we can certainly make allusions to how mitochlorians detract from anything that Luke might have "learned" in the subsequent (preceding) movies. That said, I personally didn't find the technobabble (scientifically-grounded or not) to be particularly distracting in Primer, but I accept that other people, such as freebeer, may have found it unnecessarily unwieldy (as I found the DD director's cut). I think it's for this reason that it was much easier for me to just accept time travel as a device to explore relationships between scientists. Outside of the time travel domain, I would compare Primer to a movie like Remains of the Day (although definitely not in the same league), where there's not much "plot" as much as there is an evolving relationship. Perhaps a better comparison would be The Social Network, in so much it deals with the relationship of inventors -- although I haven't seen that movie either (I know I'm a poor excuse for a Talkbacker). P.S. I wish I could talk more about the trailer, but I struggle to find anything constructive to talk about there.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:44 p.m. CST


    by Glenn

    I think you solved your own question. Donnie Darko isn't about scientists therefore its babble is out of place and indulgent on the filmmaker's part; I too prefer the theatrical cut...but more for the music placement/choice.

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 12:52 a.m. CST

    I like the Indie version of the Inception Horns going on here.

    by Happyfat73


  • ...all flawless in their different takes on time travel. If you don't like the sub-genre's you are taken to, I can see anyone of these films not working for you. I for one am just glad to see a sub-genre of sci-fi have such rich options for viewing. Thank you, movie gods. (I haven't seen Looper yet, but it looks like the real thing.)

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 3:54 a.m. CST


    by Glenn

    Thanks for adding some positivity to the discussion. All these movies are fun as hell. As to whether their takes on time-travel are flawless or not, we have no way of knowing.

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Demolition Man is an underrated gem

    by lv_426

    Be well talkbackers.

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 4:44 a.m. CST

    happy accidents.

    by Deeber

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Spell "colour" correctly and I'm in!

    by BenBraddock

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 7:08 a.m. CST

    LOVED Primer, really looking forward to this!

    by LaneMyersClassic

    Carruth is a great story teller - I hope he hits this one out of the park!

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 7:33 a.m. CST

    indy meh

    by UltraTron

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 7:34 a.m. CST

    indie meh too

    by UltraTron

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Whaaat am I loking at here?

    by TheMachinist

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    You are loking at something apparently.

    by UltraTron

  • a mainstream movie? All it would take is some fancier logo action.

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 11:48 a.m. CST

    I do have something to say about teasers...

    by Arguendo

    I'll take my statement back. I think the teaser is "good" for a teaser. That said, I almost universally dislike teasers, and this is included among them. I still watch them, masochist that I am, but really, I'd prefer a full trailer or nothing. Perhaps the only really appropriate time for a teaser is for movies that are mysteries.

  • Take Abrams' Star Trek for example. The teaser for that was great, and got me really excited about the movie. The trailers lowered my expectations. I recall similar experiences with the teasers for Transformers, Superman Returns, Terminator Salvation, and Prometheus. Trailers tend to give away way too much (especially those for Skyfall, holy fuck). A good teaser simply gives you an impression of the broad strokes. The teaser for Upstream Color, however, tells us nothing except for the identity of the director. That'll be enough to get Primer fans hooked, but not many others. (I WILL go see this movie, because I loved Primer, just for the record.)

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 10:36 p.m. CST

    Stop making movies you fucking Hipster!

    by chien_sale

    Go back to your previleged World of thinking you are smart and clever. I'm sure your little group of friends thinks you're smart and interesting.

  • ...for ourselves. I vote yea, myself. But making prize-winning films on ultrashoestring budgets usually does imply some smarts & cleverness, especially when you parse the timelines involved in the film and it all makes sense (as a look at the websites devoted to Primer should convince you). And I've never met Carruth, I'm not his friend by definition, and I do think he's smart & interesting, as do most of the commenters above. Does your little group of friends think you are, assuming you have any? If so, why?

  • Dec. 6, 2012, 12:03 a.m. CST

    And as for Caruth being a hipster...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...check out mel gibsteinberg's comment above. Summary: he's not.

  • Dec. 6, 2012, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Just for the record, I don't think Primer is a great film...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...but it's an impressive one, especially given the limited resources Carruth had. It might even be the best-thought-out time travel movie ever made, which is not a small compliment given the high quality of many of this subgenre's films. Of the ones mentioned above, I'd only call Groundhog Day a great film among films in general. (That might sound a little strange, but I think comedies tend to be underrated in the Greatness Sweepstakes, and I think there is real wisdom in the film as well.) Maybe Le Jetee, the one Twelve Monkeys is based on, qualifies too, if we're including shorts. But Back to the Future & Terminator are very fine films, and most of the others mentioned pretty good, though I'd call several of them suspended animation films rather than time travel films. I haven't seen Time Crimes, but seeing how it keeps cropping up here, I guess I need to. Thanks for the tip, guys.

  • Fucking LOOPER?? Best film of the year, in my book. And how bout it winning BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY by the National Board of Review? Fuckin' A!

  • Dec. 6, 2012, 4:13 a.m. CST

    And i agree with many here in regards to Primer

    by Tom Yorke

    Carruth is obviously a smart fellow... although, AS A FILM, Primer was very mediocre. High concept, shit execution. Cinematically speaking.