Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Upstream Color": Life Inside an Ageless Organism 

Wednesday, Apr 10 2013

Early on in Upstream Color, a woman named Kris (Amy Seimetz) sits at a computer and works on a CGI rendering of some impossible creature for a movie we'll never see. It feels like a message from director Shane Carruth: This will not be an effects-laden fantasy movie, but rather the kind of brain-twisting sci-fi movie you'd hope for from the director of Primer. But where that deeply intellectual film used ample dialogue and voiceover narration to help the audience stay more or less grounded in its twisty timelines, the far more emotional Upstream Color is frequently word-free, trusting the audience to parse cinema's native languages of image, montage, and sound as Kris and her boyfriend Jeff (Carruth) try to make sense of past and present traumas. And while the cinematography is gorgeous and the editing is sharp, the key to the film is its sound design, personified by a mysterious field recordist (Andrew Sensenig) who may or may not be the puppet-master of Kris and Jeff (but definitely is to a sty of pigs). What Upstream Color is even about is up to the individual, and its opacity will surely enrage as many viewers as it will enchant. But we expect nothing less from Carruth.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"