It seems appropriate that SCI-FI-LONDON was one of the first places in the UK to show Shane Carruth's debut feature Primer, when it opened our festival in 2005. It is exactly the type of sci-fi we like to champion: original and intelligent without the need to rely on massive special effects budgets to tell a story. It went on to win Best Feature Film. Almost a decade on, people are still scratching their heads trying to figure it out.
Carruth's follow-up film, Upstream Colour, is equally confounding, and to a certain extent not as linear a story as Primer. It's more of a beard-stroker than a head-scratcher. It's definitely an antidote to this summer's disappointing raft of pseudo sci-fi that Hollywood has been bombarding us with. Most of them required you to disengage your brain before entering the cinema because they do not stand up to too much scrutiny, whether it is the science or poorly constructed plot devices. We'll not even mention the excessive CGI destruction porn (OK, we have now).
Upstream Colour is definitely from the art-house spectrum of sci-fi. It feels more like a dream, with its sometimes unfathomable logic and ethereal imagery. And like a dream, it is best just to experience and then analyse it afterwards (if you have to), or simply remember it as a pleasant experience. If Terrence Malick's Tree of Life or the darker Holy Motors from Leos Carax are your cup of tea, then this will definitely be your mushroom-laced Darjeeling.
We spoke with Shane Carruth about the film.
Upstream Colour is in select cinemas from August 30.