A new film from Shane Carruth, the director of Primer. I haven't seen it yet but am looking forward to it. Carruth has chosen an independent distribution strategy, so you can watch it right now, e.g., on Amazon or streamed from other sources. Here's a picture of Carruth at Sci Foo back in 2008. When we parted company he was on his way to talk to Steven Soderbergh to start fundraising for his next film. It's been 9 years since Primer was released! Carruth has chosen a difficult path in life ...
It presents us with a glimpse of the vastness of existence, of our inner nature, and of nature without that is as equally dreadful, enveloping, and terrifying as it is beautiful.
Sci-fi might have been too familiar a word, for what may induce a kind of hallucinatory melancholy in its viewers.
Carruth may be something that the movies haven't yet seen, perhaps the first great realization of the democratization of filmmaking that digital technology and the Internet promised.
New Yorker: ... “Upstream Color” is different. Although its story is meticulously conceived and covers a much broader span of action and group of characters, it conveys a sense of having been invented spontaneously by means of the camera, as if Carruth were discovering the story in real time rather than realizing it as planned. The difference—the advance—involves more than aesthetic pleasure or even existential risk; it’s a crucial deepening of Carruth’s ideas, which are among the most philosophically sophisticated in the contemporary cinema. He works in a distinctive mode: science-fiction with overtones of transcendence. His distinctive visual style is one of spiritual impressionism, similar to that of Terrence Malick’s agile, luminous rapture—but Carruth’s images are harder-edged, more confrontational, and, above all, non-religious. Where Malick’s images are tactile, Carruth’s are physical; where Malick’s are metaphysical, Carruth’s are diaphysical—he doesn’t sanctify the mystery but reveals it through hidden realms of the material world. Carruth fulfills the basic premise of science-fiction, to tether the impossible to rational explanations—but the impossible results that he seeks to explain are of the sort that are commonly taken to be religious. His subject is identity—the hazy border zone where the mental shifts, by means of self-consciousness and other, perhaps vaguer biochemical processes, into some higher essence of selfhood that is ordinarily called the soul.
Soderbergh on Hollywood: In my view, in this business which is totally talent-driven, it’s about horses, not races. I think if I were going to run a studio I’d just be gathering the best filmmakers I could find and sort of let them do their thing within certain economic parameters. So I would call Shane Carruth or Barry Jenkins or Amy Seimetz and I’d bring them in and go, ok, what do you want to do? What are the things you’re interested in doing? What do we have here that you might be interested in doing? If there was some sort of point of intersection I’d go: O.K., look, I’m going to let you make three movies over five years, I’m going to give you this much money in production costs, I’m going to dedicate this much money on marketing. You can sort of proportion it how you want, you can spend it all on one and none on the other two, but go make something.