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Shane Carruth Interview: Upstream Color

Posted on Sunday January 5, 2014, 17:27 by Damon Wise in Words From The Wise
Shane Carruth Interview: Upstream Color

Shane Carruth's Upstream Color, his second feature film after 2004's delirious time-travel drama Primer, debuted almost a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival, where its sold-out screening at the Eccles Theatre was one of the event's hottest tickets. The film baffled and impressed in equal measure, telling the story of Kris (Amy Seimetz) and Jeff (Carruth), whose lives are intertwined by strange external forces, including a pig farmer-slash-record producer, a family of orchid gatherers and a conman who uses insects and plant residue to steal money from his victims.

My attempts to sit down with Shane in Park City came to nothing; meetings were arranged and cancelled on account of both our busy schedules, so I followed him on to the Berlin Film Festival. Yet again, Shane was hard to pin down, this time because he was handling all the elements of his film's springtime roadshow release in the US while finalising the packaging for the film's Region One DVD and Blu-ray editions – as well as its (self-composed) vinyl soundtrack. He was even supposed to be running his own interview schedule, although he admitted that he'd been "letting that slide”.

What follows is a good portion of a 90-minute conversation we had at the Hyatt hotel in Potsdamer Platz. Very little of what Shane says will “explain” Upstream Color, especially if you haven't seen it yet (paradoxically, for a while it seemed a little too specific/spoilery to publish while the film was in UK cinemas). But now that Upstream Color is available here on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes (via Metrodome), it seemed like a good time to revisit it…

Did you always plan to follow up Primer with Upstream Color?
No. No. I was trying to make a film called A Topiary. It's a much, much bigger-budgeted project, and it's about kids with the ability to create automata, or creatures, with all the complications that arise from that. But it was effects-heavy, so I spent a lot of time coming up with an aesthetic and a way to do the effects that I hoped would be seamless, because I felt that too many times you were seeing inconsistency in the way effects were produced. This was a very pristine little thing. So I spent years on that, and another year doing meetings and trying to get financing. I met with a lot of enthusiasm but… nothing was actually happening. No money was sitting in accounts. So, at the same time, I was putting together the story elements for Upstream Color and a couple of things happened. One was that I realised how emotional this story was going to be, that it wasn't just an intellectual exercise. And at the same time I realised that this was something I could just go and do, and not ask anybody for permission. So I got really passionate about both those ideas and set about doing it.

So how far were you into prepping A Topiary were you when you decided to do it?
I don't know.

I suppose you hadn't had much previous experience to compare it too...
That's exactly right. That's the flavour that seems to permeate everything – I'm naïve. I'm just constantly naïve about how this is meant to go. But it took me at least a year to write A Topiary, and it probably took me a year to write Primer, and I think I've learned about where the moment is where you've got your material, your rich, rich material, and you've got your exploration, and now it's a matter of cementing it. So two or three months is the time it took to write this script, once all the ideas had been accumulated.

So there was a shooting script?
Oh yes. It's all there.

How did it differ from Primer? It seems to be a more emotional movie, where Primer operated on a more intellectual level.
Yes it does, although I have a hard time with that. I feel like we want to compartmentalise things and say, well, that's emotional, artistic and subjective, while this is intellectual, objective and measured. I have difficulty thinking that's the way we experience things. I feel like way too many times there's a confluence, and it's difficult for any kind of conversation to take place if we separate the two – too much. But I understand that. Like you say, it's not intellectual, and I completely get that and probably agree. But I have to also add the fact that in many ways it's a vastly smarter, better movie than Primer. I mean, it's definitely better, and it definitely has more on its mind. I believe it's richer.

I'm just saying it operates on an emotional level, with emotional beats rather than plot beats. In Primer there was always a feeling that certain plot points could refer to past or future events, but I didn't feel the same immediate pressure to keep up with Upstream Color.
That's exactly what I mean. Hopefully there's an emotional experience that occurs when it's watched the first time or second time, but there are things to come back to. Luckily, I'm now able to talk to people who've seen it multiple times, so now they're relaying it back to me. Seeing the paper chains in the first shot and seeing what that character does with them, The Thief, and putting together the whole life cycle. Hopefully these aren't bits that are necessary to the emotional experience but add to it in some way.

What part of the story came to you first? It seems to me a film about destiny, and the way people don't take responsibility for the bad things that happen to them.
That's the core, that's the seed of it, that's everything. That's what I really wanted to explore – the idea of a personal narrative, of an identity, of the way that you view the world and the way it views you. And everything that's involved with that – what you think you deserve, or you don't deserve, and your political beliefs or your religious beliefs, whatever. Once that becomes cemented, that seems to dictate your behaviour, or the things you say. I certainly don't have a message, as in a morality tale, but I am absolutely compelled to explore the concept of whether that's the case, we whether can do anything about that, what effects that has on all of us, and I think it's a massively broad, rich theme to play with, because I think it does permeate everything. From people thinking that a certain pharmaceutical product is affecting them, or that they need it, to religious beliefs, to scientific beliefs, to… everything. Relationships. It breaks down to the sheer subjectivity of everyone's experience. So to be able to play with that, and understand that it's such an emotional, weighty theme… That's where all of this started from.

I think we all have times when we say to ourselves, “What was I thinking…?”
The very first mock-up poster I did while I was writing this, it was a very abstract painting. But I had in my mind that the text would be, “Why did you do that?” That's what I was looking at while I was writing, this abstract art: “Why did you do that?” Yeah. That's what it all breaks down to. Yeah. But it's so big, so vast. The idea of being affected, at a distance, that something you can't name – upstream – is haunting. Once you get into that…

Does The Pig Farmer have the grand design?
Well, the cycle is, or it was the intention that, there are three points on the triangle, from the worm to the pig to the orchid and back again. And what I wanted to do with those is, they need to be removed from our main character's experience. We can't know about them. They need to be part of nature, but something we don't touch. It needed to feel like it's cyclical and it's part of where we live, not meteoroid lands. Specifically, that character of the pig farmer, I guess I thought of it in terms of… Y'know, we've got The Thief, who's just malicious. He's found a trick, he knows how to use it, and he uses it to steal. We've got The Orchid Harvesters, who are more or less benign. Not doing anything, seemingly at peace with nature. And then you've got this guy, The Pig Farmer, who is technically not doing anything you could point at and go, 'That's wrong.' And not doing anything you can point at and say, 'That's right.' He is an observer, he is sampling, and this is the only thing that you see him do. So the fact that he's the one that Kris, the main character, finds culpable for [what happens to her]… That's kind of an offshoot but hopefully an interesting experience too, to lay blame on somebody who's observing and not necessarily touching or controlling. It started to feel like Heart Of Darkness, where you're just going upstream to solve whatever is up there, and figure out whether it is the problem, or the god, or the demon.

So is The Thief a demon figure, or just part of the cycle?
I always thought The Thief is just an opportunist, just a guy. Not necessary, but he'll always be around, y'know? There's always gonna be a Thief.

There seems to be an element of the Prometheus myth, in a way, in terms of the characters getting too close to God. Is that too heavy? Is that what you want people to take away?
In Kris's mind that's exactly what's happening. She has found the offscreen presence that has made her question everything and put her in this state. Once we drilled down further we realised that she is a special case. She's not just somebody who has this paranoia that something's going on. She's somebody who is searching for children she has lost and doesn't know about. The more I drilled down into that and thought about it… That's just a layer of heartbreak that I don't know how to get to. So in my mind that's the psychic break. That's the thing that makes her a different story than all the other people that would have been affected by this. My hope is that she shoots this guy. Look, the film does this a lot. What's being shown on screen I think makes a certain amount of movie sense. But once you look at what's actually happening, I think it makes far less sense, and it becomes a real problem. Because she's essentially getting vengeance on somebody who hasn't necessarily done anything to her, and yet the movie is selling the idea that that's a very satisfying thing – because it's selling the subjective view. Just like at the end, in having this very peaceful, resolved version of her with these piglets, which, really, once you've pared all this stuff away, that's an incredibly melancholy idea: that the best she's gonna hope for out of life is some sort of communion with piglets, that are never gonna return anything to her. But the cinematography, the music and her performance are selling this idea… of something more subversive, I think.

There's also the idea of the record label. What was the intention there?
Part of it's just pragmatic. He's not a rancher, he's not a pig farmer, he's a guy who's collected a goldfish bowl, basically, of emotions to sample. That's the way he would think of it. So his identity needed to be much more white collar and urban. But the way that he would do that work, the way he would be connected to the world, would be tenuous. He would have this place, where he could reach out to the world, but it wouldn't have to go there. That's the way I wanted him. So him producing records is an offshoot of that. That's how Kris and Jeff come to understand that there was a person involved. That's how they would get to that evidence. She knows about these environments, she knows about these sounds, they track it down – there's an address on the record. It gets mechanical at the end, but that's where it started.

So he's literally sampling their lives and turning it into some kind of art?
Yeah. And listening to that would be, in my mind, not a great experience. It's like the background radiation of the universe. Like, I don't know if I wanna hear that. It seems like that would be too much.

The middle of the movie, where Kris and Jeff meet, is quite uncomfortable – you've said they're meant to be resisting the narrative…
Exactly. That's the part of the movie where two people are meant to meet on a train and they're meant to be a meet-cute situation. It's like… Well, it's not like – they actually are drawn to each other, but in a way that's completely inorganic to their experience. So that's what I thought would be interesting. Every moment should be something that's charming and clever and romantic, and instead it's full of tension, but it still has to move forward, because their pigs are moving forward, basically, in another place. So, just the idea of being affected at a distance, and it being both horrifying and full of tension and romantic or something you would give into just seems… about right!

As in Primer, it seems you have a thing about beating up bosses!
I've never connected that. You're right. Wow! I just wanted a way to watch Jeff be affected at a distance and freak out over the loss of the family there, the pig family. I just made him freak out at work.

That's leading up to the apocalyptic scene in the bathtub. That's also quite oblique, as to what the threat is. What are they reacting to?
There's a shared, affected-at-a-distance fear. It's like they need to be terrified, they need to be anxious, they need to be drummed up in some way without knowing what to do with that energy. Who are they reacting to, exactly? What is the threat? That needed to permeate that entire sequence, so in my mind, that puts you in the bath tub with a bunch of supplies, scared half to death about what's gonna come through the door.

It's actually not a very metaphorical film, in that sense. Some of it is really quite literal…
It is. That's the thing. I think the architecture – for whatever reason, that's the way I sort of think of it – the architecture is The Story. Like, if you were to tell this as a fable, you could sum this up as The Story. And everybody would know by the end of it, in the same way that they know about the hare and the tortoise, that these are representations of whatever. In the same way, if you break this down to its building blocks, I think it works. I think it's got a really solid architecture. The way the film explores that is the harder bit. Because I think it's much more subjective, and it's lyrical, or attempts to be lyrical.

Yes, it's lyrical rather than metaphorical.
Yeah. Well, that's the thing. I think the metaphor is solid in its architecture, but because of that, hopefully, we have have the freedom to swim through it. That's my hope for the film.

When I first saw the film I thought I'd have to read Thoreau to understand the end of the film, but you've said since that you thought it was a boring book and that's why you chose it!
It's true. But what's so crazy – and this is something I should't admit to but I didn't intend… I revisited it lately, and – I don't think this is the intention of Thoreau – but it is a horrifying view of isolation. And an attempt to be isolated but connected at the same time to something else. I don't know… There's something about that that's just really fitting. It's extremely fitting, in a way that I didn't intend for this movie. Almost embarrassingly.

Maybe it was subconscious?
It's true. Honestly? If I'd read it before writing the script I wouldn't have used it. I mean, I read it a long time ago in high school and had a negative reaction to it and didn't remember much about it. I guess. But if I had been well versed in it, while we were shooting I probably would have said, no, we need another book.

What did you do before you became a filmmaker? There are stories that you were at MIT…
Oh no. I got a degree in math, from not a good school in Texas, and then I went to work as a software engineer. Just not glamorous at all. What's funny is that I have now spent more time and at least imagining myself to be a filmmaker than I ever spent doing anything else. So the idea that I'm somehow an engineer or a mathematician who turned to filmmaking… it feels like we're talking about what fraternity somebody pledged in college. It doesn't affect or touch my life in any way. It was only a couple of years of experience, really. And in that time I was a horrible employee. I was trying find time to write while I was maintaining a day job.

It has become part of your myth – that you brought these abstract ideas from your previous life and transformed them into cinema. But it seems you had all these ideas anyway…
Yeah. And I'm to blame for that. I mean, that's the promotion we did for the film. We definitely played up to that idea.

It's interesting that, even since Primer, filmmakers haven't really applied logical ideas to their film scripts. That's what's so appealing about that film.
They probably looked at the box office for it.

But it's amazing that nobody's tried to rip it off.
That is funny, isn't it? But I've been so isolated in Texas, who knows? I wouldn't know if somebody was.

It's a incredible piece of work, considering how much it cost – was it $7,000?
That's real. It really was $7,000, and even that's backwards, though. I was basically looking at El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez's film, and I believed the myth. I had that number in my head, so every conversation I had from point moment on… that was my budget. I was like, “Why would we spend more than that? We already know that this can be done.” I think I hurt the film in a way, and I definitely put those of us that were involved in a more stressful place than we needed to be in, because I was like, 'We can only afford to buy this much film, and I'm going to buy it as cheaply as I can get it.’ So that meant that we could only shoot the bits we needed for the film. We didn't even shoot whole scenes most of the time. If I knew I was gonna cut from one to another shot, we only shot the one.

So you literally did shot-reverse-shot for real?!
Yeah, we did. Editing happened pretty much in camera. We were shooting on short ends, which are leftover film rolls from other productions. They're never long enough, and you never know when they're gonna run out. I don't why I did that to us, but I was trying to stay true to some ideal.

Why did you want to become a filmmaker in the first place? Was it always your ambition?
I was writing short stories in college, and then I had a really romantic idea about writing a novel and how that would be a good thing to do. and I think while I was writing that I came to understand that… I was refusing to write internal monologues. I was basically only writing things that you could watch happen – you would know a character's emotional state by what they did. That was one thing. It was becoming clear that I was writing screenplays, basically. I had a really generic upbringing, I think, when it comes to viewing movies as a kid. I didn't really know what was out there or what was being tried. I was, like, ET and Indiana Jones. Those were the only things I knew existed. So when I was seeing more and more work… I remember Neil Labute's In The Company Of Men had a big impact – I was so moved by that story and the fact that it was shot outside of any system, done very cheaply. So it started the idea of, “Maybe I can give this a try as well.” I don't know what I thought before but I think film is the height of narrative right now.

You did the score for Upstream Color yourself, didn't you?
Yeah. I'm selling it from the website.

Are you literally selling it, in terms of putting it in mailers and sending it out yourself?
No.
I'm just trying to figure out how much you do yourself…
It's, embarrassingly, way too much. Like, it's not cool at all. It's not. I mean, I did the Blu-ray packaging/artwork on my laptop and uploaded it yesterday. That's what I was doing yesterday. And I can't wait. It's gonna be so good. But I don't know why I did that. I really don't why I did that. I mean, the alternative seems wrong. And I don't know how to solve this.

It seems that you're interested in the physical whole of what you're doing, not just the filmmaking.
Yeah. I think there's something interesting happening. It's not just started to happen right now, but it has to do with the fact that it used to be the case that if you wanted to make something in the world that you needed money to make – some exploration, some work of art – you had to go to somebody wealthy, a king or a landowner and say, “Please commission this work.” Now we're in a situation where everything's decentralised, and you can appeal to the people who will be receiving the work, if you like. So the whole conversation has changed. It's not interaction, because I don't think I could ever have real personal interaction. Like Rian [Johnson] does a wonderful job using Twitter to communicate. I have nothing but anxiety, thinking about it. [Laughs] What I do think I can do has more to do with the idea of teasers and trailers and artwork. I do think that what frames the work is important, and making those decisions is important – the font, the texture of the paper you use. I think all of these things… They're not changing the story, but they're servicing it in the same way anything services the story – the way the music services the story. There are things you do in production that are purely aesthetic and they're purely about contextualising and framing. So I do think that, even though we're outside of the film when we're talking about marketing, it can all point us to the right place.

It reminds me of John Cassavetes – he had control of his library, and he wouldn't give his films to certain people.
I love that. I want that. I want to know that he's so possessive and territorial about it. That makes me more compelled to drill down into the work and see what's there.

Was he an influence on you at all?
Um, a bit. Not the main. But there's an economic factor here too. I don't imagine I'm going to making films that I'm gonna get real film financing for. So what that means is that I've gotta pay for those movies. I'm writing something now that's a bit more ambitious and it's gonna be a bit more expensive. My only way of understanding how I'm gonna pay for that is through the money that this, Upstream Color, makes. There's something that I like about that, even though it's way, way more work. But the idea that every dollar that comes in from this one is a dollar that's spent on the next – that sounds right.

Do you think you ever will get the A Topiary budget?
No, I think that's what I learned, trying to make A Topiary. I thought there was a sliver of common ground between them and me. And it turns there is no sliver. That's what I think I learned.

What kind of budget are we talking about?
I had a line producer who budgeted it at about $20 million. That was shooting on 65mm. That was a pretty extravagant version, so we would pare that back, and there was a version of it that could have existed for $14 million.

That's not so insane.
I don't think it's insane. This project was really compelling, I think. I mean, it's kids with robots – how is that not sellable? That's as commercial as I'm ever gonna get. I think it's a good, good work, but knowing that, and knowing that I couldn't convince anybody of it, to me, that's the end. I don't know how to do any better than that.

How would you describe A Topiary?
It's definitely a bridge between Primer and Upstream Color. 20 minutes in, we get into the main bit of the story, which is, these ten kids in a rural environment find a buried machine that seems man-made. They don't know what it does. There's a little bit of puzzle-solving and it spits out a disc…

[A very spoiler-heavy discussion of the plot ensues…]

Can we return to the title of the film, Upstream Color? You mentioned Apocalypse Now – is that how you see your personal journey, trying to make these kinds of films at a time when the industry is not geared towards them?
I don't know. I think my outlook now is actually incredibly positive. I don't feel like I'm fighting anything. I think I know what I'm meant to be doing and how I'm meant to be doing it. I'm happy to do work. What I don't like is the idea of pitching, or having conversations with people and having to be political with them to get money.

That's the Jim Jarmusch school of thought: you want me or you don't.
Yeah, pretty much. I wanna prove my worth through the work. I don't want to fake my way through.

So does Upstream Color suggest that there's something worthwhile at the end?
I can tell you why I chose the title. It just goes back to being affected at a distance. From everybody's perspective in this film, from the three points in the triangle – The Pig Farmer, The Thief, The Orchid Harvesters – to our lead characters, none of them could point to the thing that they're doing, or where it comes from. It always seems to be coming from some other place, and it's just… upstream. It's something that comes down to you, it interacts with you, but you couldn't ever name it or face it, except that's what Kris's attempting to do. It originated with thinking about how… For some reason, in my head, the life cycle – these three points in the triangle – needed to consist of processes that would continue without knowing where it was coming from and where it was going. The Thief knows to go to the nursery and look for a certain plant with a fine blue powder on it, and that gets him his device that he needs. The pig farmer doesn't know where these people come from, but he knows that if he plays a certain sound into the ground they will come. And the same thing with the Orchid Harvesters. None of them would know that the other ones existed, it's just a trick in nature that they found.

And Color being…?
Color's probably literal. In some ways. I guess you could take it subjectively. The shape and the colour – the shape is easy and the colour's difficult. Most of the time, it seems like.

Titles seem to be very important to you.
Oh yeah. That's my job. I mean, it's weird. There are titles where the film way surpasses the title. Like 2001 is probably my favourite film. But that title? I don't know that it is. Who cares that it's the year 2001? That doesn't mean anything, it's arbitrary. In some ways, titles are just titles, that's the place mark. But in other ways maybe you can do something clever and informative. [Laughs] Maybe we shouldn't – maybe we shouldn't be clever. Maybe there should be serial numbers!

So what's next for you?
It's called The Modern Ocean. On the surface it's about people in the commodities trading business – the shipping routes at sea they build up. Pirates, repo men, ships at war – these are all elements. But really it's much more about a group of people that all have certain ambitions that are going in different directions, and there's a great deal of damage that's done to a lot of them because of these disparate directions.

Is it a change of direction for you too?
Well, it is in that there's no absolutely no genre elements to it. It's a straight, straight story, but it's a continuation of the visual and emotional language of Upstream Color. It's magnified in a big way.

Do you see similarities starting to emerge in your work?
Maybe. But I just wonder if certain things are just common to narratives.

Have you looked back at those two films and noticed anything you haven't seen before?
I have. And what's weird is that it's so much bigger than work. I was just noticing this last night, I tend to do this thing in conversation, where somebody asks me a question and I'll repeat it back to them in another form. Like they'll say, “Are we gonna go out to dinner tonight?” And I'll say, “Going out to the dinner is the only thing we can do!” For some reason I grab it and isolate it! “It's the only thing we're gonna do!” That's my pattern, and that means I have to think less about the question. I just respond, like a parrot.

Do you believe in destiny?
Wow. No, I struggle with that. I know that something happened on this film that is unexplainable, and I wrestle with that. Because I do like to be somebody who knows in advance how things are meant to go and plan for them appropriately. And I have to admit that there's something else at work. I don't know what it is.

And is that reflected in the film?
I will defend to the death that this is all a purposeful work. Nothing happens by accident. But it's also an exploration. I'm not here to preach, obviously, because what do I know? Nothing. But I do think that I can hopefully convey an exploration – that sounds grand – that we can share and talk about and get into. That's all I hope for and expect from narrative. Not to answer the question but to raise the question in a way we can refer to. Then, if it's a good enough work and if it's relevant, in a hundred years it becomes part of our shared understanding of what the questions are, which is more important than having answers.

Are you ever approached by well-known actors who want to work with you? Are you nervous about that happening?
No, I'm the opposite of nervous. I have an unhealthy rejection of that. I don't enjoy it. Not that there's a lot of it. But what is there I don't care for.

You say you grew with ET and Indiana Jones. How come you ended up making these very hardcore arthouse films?
I had a renaissance in college, when I came to understand that there were other things afoot.

Are you self-taught, in that respect?
It started off derivative. I know that. I know that. There's two things, I guess. What drew me to film… Maybe it wouldn't have happened in any other time. Maybe it was the video generation, the generation that had the ability to go to the video store and watch anything that's been made. That I was even able to navigate towards New Wave and auteur-type work. That's what got me here. My hope right now, the thing I'm most passionate about, is that Upstream Color is a new enough advancement that… I don't know, but I don't think it's like anything else. I really love what it is and I want to keep pushing that.

There are quite a few Primer obsessives out there. Have you seen the insanely complicated timelines that people have posted on the internet?
I've seen a few of those.

Are they interesting to you?
I'm two things. I'm grateful that anybody who cares enough would take the time to do that. But I'm also a little bit discouraged that that seems to be the main thing that's taken away from the film – the mechanics of it. Mark Urman of THINKFilm said something to me when we were at Sundance with the film and it's hung around in my head. He said it right in front of my mom. He said, “I saw your film. It's a bit of a mindfuck.” I smiled, because I was trying to stay pleasant, but that was one of the most offensive things that I remember anybody saying to me. Like, I was so grateful that people were watching it, but that's not what it is. I didn't make a movie so that it would screw with people's heads.

I'm surprised you were offended by that! Because it is – in a good way!
I know, I know, I shouldn't be. I really understand that I shouldn't be.

Did you take offence at the suggestion that you might be doing it just for the sake of it?
Yes. That's exactly it.

Do you see your films as taking place in the real world?
It's tough. I see them in a nondescript place that looks like we live in, and characters that hopefully behave in the way we would behave but… No, I don't. The first 20 minutes of A Topiary is set in Bay Area San Francisco, but I would probably never show the Bay bridge or any of that. I'm trying to attempt to make things that are universal. That's not possible, completely. Upstream Color probably right now looks pretty nondescript, but in 30 years, people will say, “Oh, that must be a movie from the early 2000s – I recognise those hairstyles.” But there's an an attempt being made to keep things timeless.

Will you continue to act in them?
I don't know. It's not on the agenda, but it's also something I really value. I know something now about actors and acting from being in it. When you're working with somebody you know what's happening with them in a way that you wouldn't know if you were just watching. Being forced to act and react – you have an unspoken bit of information that's really integral, especially when I don't have any experience in directing actors.

You must be quite fearless to attempt all this.
It's just being really naïve. Really. Because I look back and I go, “What…?” Because I don't know what I was thinking, I really don't. I really don't. [Laughs] I don't know. I feel like I get to points where I don't feel I have anything to lose. It doesn't feel fearless. It feels like, “What am I saving it for?” I'm not trying to win favour. Upstream Color deserves favour. It's a good work, and it's good to feel that strongly about something. I don't feel like, “I've gotta do something here, I've gotta infect culture at some level, I've gotta meet the market.” I've got to get this in front of people at some level so that it has a chance to live on its own. That's my involvement in this. I'm not worried about box office numbers or whether our Rotten Tomatoes score gets high enough. It doesn't matter. The work is the work. It's a good thing, and people will either respond to it now or they'll respond to it later. My job is just to get it there, right now. That sounds over-confident. But it's not confidence in myself, it's just that I know that it's a good work, I just know it.

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Words From The Wise (35)

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RECENT POSTS

Cannes Film Festival 2014: Awards Wrap
By Damon Wise

Sundance London: An Introduction To The 2014 Edition
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Sundance 2014: Final Wrap
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
By Damon Wise

Sundance 2014: First Report
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Shane Carruth Interview: Upstream Color
By Damon Wise

Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac: First Look
By Damon Wise

The European Film Awards 2013
By Damon Wise

Metro Manila Charity Screenings
By Damon Wise

San Sebastian Film Festival 2013: First Report – Enemy, Le Week-end, Quai D'Orsay and The Railway Man
By Damon Wise


RECENT COMMENTS

Sundance 2014: Final Wrap
"lights of both competitors alongside its traditional 24/7 series. Here we have the greatest hits of "  lalkala000
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Ha ha, buuuurn! I am going to go a step further and say Dredd was a better film."  doug64
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"You are a miserable old fart! "  Crazel
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Doug64 I totally agreed with you"  Crazel
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Am I the only person in the world who doesn't think The Raid is all that great? I realise you have t"  doug64
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
"Great write-up on a movie for which I am incredibly excited. Even more promisingly, this seems to be"  tysmuse
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Toronto 2013: Starred Up, Belle, The Invisible Woman, Dom Hemingway, The Double
"If being on a par with Terry Gilliam's 'daft' Brazil is the only criticism avowed Gilliam-disliker D"  Garth_Marenghi
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Venice 2013: Under The Skin
"I'm glad that Glazer's finally back on the big screen. Judging by the review, he"  Manfrendshensindshen
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Venice 2013: Gravity Is Out Of This World
"What's really interesting about this film is the trailer gives nothing away but give you the premise"  durelius
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Venice 2013: Gravity Is Out Of This World
"Looks majestic. Can't wait to see this particularly if it lives up to the slowly-building hype."  herbertwest1701
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POPULAR POSTS

Why I Love Django Unchained
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Sundance 2014: The Raid 2 – First Look
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Venice 2013: Gravity Is Out Of This World
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Venice 2013: Under The Skin
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Toronto 2013: Starred Up, Belle, The Invisible Woman, Dom Hemingway, The Double
1 comments

Sundance 2013: The Round-Up Part Two
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Sundance 2013: The Round-Up Part 5
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Argo: a round table encounter with Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston and John Goodman
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Cannes 2013: Some Thoughts On The Official Lineup
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Sundance 2014: Final Wrap
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