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2,902 Ratings

Upstream Color

Directed by Shane Carruth
United States, 2013
Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery


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.

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Upstream Color Directed by Shane Carruth

Awards & Festivals

Sundance Film Festival

2013 | Winner: Special Jury Award for Sound Design (US Dramatic Competition)

Independent Spirit Awards

2014 | 2 nominations including: Best Director

In the spirit of Barthes’ S/Z which opens by reflecting, ‘[t]here are said to be certain Buddhists whose ascetic practices enable them to see a whole landscape in a bean’, I will condense my focus on Upstream Color to Kris’ surfacing from the depths of the pool… I propose that, like Kris, we dive down again, into the film, to consider the relevance of this concept to our own moment, and the various paths we use to think about meaning migration…
March 23, 2015
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For daring to carve out its own territory on the frontier, and for insisting on the concreteness of its own symbological inventions, Carruth’s may be the American arthouse film of the year – if in fact one could say with any certainty what it exactly is. Perhaps we could characterise it as experimental – not in the familiar sense of an avant-gardist work but literally an experiment seeking answers, exploring the possible future of narrative film…
August 30, 2013
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Of the many unsettling pleasures of Upstream Color, the most radical is how open it is to multiple, simultaneous readings, ranging from a basic contagion/virus film to a metaphysical meditation on what it means to have a fixed subjectivity as a human being. Although the Thief and the Sampler can both be read as rough equivalents for a filmmaker — or any artist who draws on the “experiences” of others to create — it’s really the Sampler who comes closest to standing in for a film’s director.
June 10, 2013
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