Sundance Film Festival's 13 must-see movies

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UPSTREAM COLOR

Remember Shane Carruth?

The filmmaker is not really a household name, partly because he hasn’t made a film in eight years.

But there is a deep and abiding cult fandom surrounding his one previous project — the enigmatic time-travel drama Primer, which premiered at Sundance in 2004. Admirers have been watching and rewatching that film ever since, still puzzling over its meaning, still searching for answers.

His new film, Upstream Color, is likely to generate the same passionate curiosity.

Here’s the description from the official Sundance program guide:

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

The trailer, featured above, is elegant, enticing, and evocative — but doesn’t really make the story any clearer.

Carruth, who is not seeking distribution at the festival and intends to release the film himself in April, wasn’t available for an interview, and representatives of Upstream Color say it defies easy description in words.

There seems to be a kind of body snatcher element to the story, in which the “ageless organism” infects various people, who then begin to act out in ways that are outside their control. But even those affiliated with Sundance who have seen the film say it will require multiple viewings for fans to develop a clear idea of what’s happening — or at least a solid theory.

While that could alienate some moviegoers who don’t want to work so hard, it seems like Carruth is giving Primer fans more of the kind of inscrutable cinematic mystery they loved the first time.

NEXT MOVIE: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in ‘Before Midnight’


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