Primer Writer-Director’s Next Film Comes Into Focus

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 16 2013 1:33 PM

Primer Follow-Up Comes Into Focus

Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color.
Shane Carruth and Amy Seimetz in Upstream Color.

Publicity still © 2012 - erbp

It’s been almost a decade since filmmaker Shane Carruth appeared out of nowhere with the microbudget mindbender Primer and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Next week Carruth will break his long absence from filmmaking by returning to Sundance and presenting his follow-up, Upstream Color.

Over the last month or so, Color has trickled out with two striking and evocative, if inscrutable, teasers. “I have to apologize,” began an unseen character in the first. “I was born with a disfigurement where my head is made with the same material as the sun.” But in the last 24 hours or so, Upstream Color has begun to come into focus, first with a profile of Carruth in the Los Angeles Times, and then yesterday with its first full trailer.

You can enjoy the trailer on its own, but it makes more sense alongside the plot synopsis provided by Mark Olsen's Times profile. “In the movie, a young woman (Amy Seimetz) is abducted and seemingly brainwashed via an organic material harvested from a specific flower,” Olsen reports. “She later meets a man (Carruth) and after the two fall for each other, they come to realize he may also have been subjected to the same process.” Thematically speaking, Olsen says the film is about "the mutual psychosis that can be an essential part of romance, the agreement of a shared madness," which you can see in the cross-cutting of this trailer.

So it’s Eternal Sunshine meets Martha May Marcy Marlene, in Hollywood-pitch-speak? Probably not: Carruth’s first film was unlike any other, and we expect this one will be, too.

Advertisement

The Times’ profile, which is worth reading in full, also touches on the status of Carruth’s other projects. He refers to an unfinished previous effort, A Topiary, as “the thing I basically wasted my whole life on.” If he’s finally moved on from developing that ambitious-sounding screenplay about children discovering a mysterious powerful box, it may at least have freed him up creatively. He plans to start shooting his next movie, The Modern Ocean, by this summer.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.