Upstream Color is the new film from Shane Carruth, the man who wrote and directed (and starred in) what is arguably the most mind-bending time-travel film ever, Primer. (Seriously if you need to have Looper explained to you in detail, you’ll need a whole college course on Primer.)

Watch the trailer for Upstream Color above, and see if you can get an understanding of the story. If not, fear not: there’s an official synopsis for the movie below. But then again, that might not be much help, either…

Ready for the official description of what that footage was all about?

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.

That should just about explain things…

Like Terrence Malick’s Tree of LifeUpstream Color seems to be a film of beautiful imagery, set within a story whose uncompromising thematic/symbolic complexity will likely perplex most casual moviegoers. Still, Primer has gone on to become a sci-fi cult-classic, and Upstream Color is primed (pun intended) for a big showing at Sundance 2013, which kicks off on Jan. 21st.

THR reports that the current planned roll-out for the film is as follows: 

  • NYC at the IFC Center on 4/15/13.
  • Wider major city expansion in the following weeks.
  • Digital Download / Video On Demand / Netflix release in May.
  • DVD/Blu-ray release to coincide with digital release.


To indie film and Primer fans – we hope you’re excited to see what Carruth has done next. For those of you who view that trailer and are left a little intrigued and a LOT of confused; we know how you feel.

Upstream Color is set for a limited theatrical release April 5th, 2013.