What To Say After Seeing ‘Upstream Color’

Shane Carruth’s hotly anticipated follow-up to Primer, the striking bio-romance mystery Upstream Color, is less a mind-bender than a mind-pulverizer. So you may find, as I did when the lights came up after the late showing at the IFC Center last night, everyone stunned into silence. No one wants to speak first after a cinematic experience of that sort, because what if you sound like a complete idiot? Well, here are some remarks to help you get the ball rolling.

“So well-edited.”

“Did you notice how there was no dialogue in the last act?”

“I thought the score was masterful.”

“He got the effect of psychotropic bloodstream-dwelling parasite worms just right.”

“This film was unmistakably about the mutually reinforced psychosis we so foolishly refer to as ‘love.’ Also I’m breaking up with you.”

“So … there wasn’t a time machine, right?”

“The Thief guy looked more like Kal Penn in the trailer.”

“That was the kind of blue I want to paint the bathroom.”

“I am really craving bacon right now.”

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From Douglas Sirk to Orson Welles, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York

Well, it’s Thursday and although the week has flown by faster than expected, it’s been a tough one. The weather’s been pleasant and hopefully helping to keep our collective spirit from plummeting into a dark abyss, and come tomorrow night you have two full days to focus on what’s truly important—movies. No, but movies do provide a nice escape from life and with a plethora of great films, both new and old, to choose from, I would suggest grabbing yourself some discount candy in bulk and heading to the cinema. I’ve rounded up for you the best in what’s playing this weekend in New York so peruse and the list and enjoy.

 

IFC Center

Errors of the Human Body
Portrait of Jason
 
 

Film Forum

Deceptive Practice: Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
Un Flic
Andre Gregory: Before and After Dinner
 
 

 

Landmark Sunshine

In the House
The Angel’s Share
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Fifth Element
 
 

Nitehawk Cinema

F for Fake
Trance 
Showgirls
Fear and Loathing
Room 237
 
 

MoMA

Kalifornia
Forget Me Not
The Mortal Storm
Oh Boy
 
 

Film Society Lincoln Center

Upstream Color
No Place on Earth
To the Wonder
Dancing Across Borders
The Land of Wandering Souls
 
 

Museum of the Moving Image

Tomboy
An Evening with Chris Milk
Rose (Roza)
Corpo Celeste
 
 

BAM

Written on the Wind
MagnifIcent Obsession
All That Heaven Allows
Trashed

Cinematic Calculations: This Week on Hulu

Although vastly different in theme, tone, and character, this week’s free Criterion films on Hulu all look to "tickle the mathematically minded cinephile." Whether you’re preferences lie in French New Wave classics, Japanese historical dramas, or early Lynchian masterpieces, there’s a wonderful selection of films to choose from. So if you spent your weekend in the theater weepingly gazing at Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, embedded in Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, or left pale by Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral, here are some fantastic and rare films to watch from the comfort of your laptop. Enjoy.

Sandakan No. 8 (1974)

This acclaimed historical drama from 1974 takes on the issue of Japanese women forced into prostitution, and stars the brilliant Kinuyo Tanaka (The Ballad of Narayama) as an elderly woman relating the tragic story of her past to a reporter. Though it was nominated for a best-foreign-language-film Oscar, Sandakan No. 8 has never been available on DVD or Blu-ray in the U.S.

One Wonderful Sunday (1974)

This affectionate paean to young love is also a frank examination by Akira Kurosawa of the harsh realities of postwar Japan. During a Sunday trip into war-ravaged Tokyo, Yuzo and Masako look for work and lodging, as well as affordable entertainments to pass the time. Reminiscent of Frank Capra’s social-realist comedies and echoing contemporaneous Italian neorealism, One Wonderful Sunday touchingly offers a sliver of hope in dark times.

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)

In 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle), Jean-Luc Godard beckons us ever closer, whispering in our ears as narrator. About what? Money, sex, fashion, the city, love, language, war: in a word, everything. Among the legendary French filmmaker’s finest achievements, the film takes as its ostensible subject the daily life of Juliette Janson (Marina Vlady), a housewife from the Paris suburbs who prostitutes herself for extra money. Yet this is only a template for Godard to spin off into provocative philosophical tangents and gorgeous images. 

Six Men Getting Sick (1966)

David Lynch’s one-minute grotesque and wonderful animated film that consists of six loops shown on a sculptured screen of three human shaped figures (based on casts of Lynch’s own head as done by Jack Fisk) that intentionally distorted the film. Lynch’s animation depicted six people getting sick: their stomachs grew and their heads would catch fire.

Cléo From 5 to 7 (1962)

Agnès Varda eloquently captures Paris in the sixties with this real-time portrait of a singer (Corinne Marchand) set adrift in the city as she awaits test results of a biopsy. A chronicle of the minutes of one woman’s life, Cléo from 5 to 7 is a spirited mix of vivid vérité and melodrama, featuring a score by Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and cameos by Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina.

Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)

This first feature by the legendary Hideo Gosha is among the most beloved chanbara (sword-fighting) films. An origin-story offshoot of a Japanese television phenomenon of the same name, Three Outlaw Samurai is a classic in its own right. A wandering, seen-it-all ronin (Tetsuro Tamba) becomes entangled in the dangerous business of two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira), hired to execute a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate. With remarkable storytelling economy and thrilling action scenes, this is an expertly mounted tale of revenge and loyalty.

The Four Feathers (1939)

This Technicolor spectacular, directed by Zoltán Korda, is considered the finest of the many adaptations of A. E. W. Mason’s classic 1902 adventure novel about the British empire’s exploits in Africa, and a crowning achievement of Alexander Korda’s legendary production company, London Films. Set at the end of the nineteenth century, The Four Feathers follows the travails of a young officer (John Clements) accused of cowardice after he resigns his post on the eve of a major deployment to Khartoum; he must then fight to redeem himself in the eyes of his fellow officers (including Ralph Richardson) and fiancée (June Duprez). Featuring music by Miklós Rózsa and Oscar-nominated cinematography by Georges Périnal and Osmond Borradaile, The Four Feathers is a thrilling, thunderous epic.

Seven Samurai (1954)

One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai) tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope.
 

Nine Days to One Year (1962)

Mikhail Romm’s 1962 Soviet black-and-white drama film about nuclear particle physics, Soviet scientists (physicists) and their relationship.

Le million (1931)

An impoverished artist discovers he has purchased a winning lottery ticket at the very moment his creditors come to collect. The only problem is, the ticket is in the pocket of his coat…which he left at his girlfriend’s apartment. . . who gave the coat to a man hiding from the police. . . who sells the coat to an opera singer who uses it during a performance. By turns charming and inventive, René Clair’s lyrical masterpiece had a profound impact on not only the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin, but on the American musical as a whole.

Shane Carruth & Steven Soderbergh Talk Cats, ‘The Limey’, and ‘Upstream Color’ at IFC

This past Saturday, I walked to the IFC Center for a mid-afternoon showing of Upstream Color to find the line for ticket holders longer than a city block. It was a beautiful day out and I truly didn’t mind waiting and was especially pleased because it reminded me that, okay yes, people are interested in seeing good films and the hunger for cinematic experience is still there. For a film as small and self-distributed as this, the success it’s had thus far is amazing—and I couldn’t be happier.

Anyhow, the line for this particular screening was even more long than the next showing because post-film there was to be a Q&A with director Shane Carruth, moderated by the one only Steven Soderbergh. After seeing his 2004 mind-bending time travel film, Primer, Soderbergh became a big fan of the up-and-coming filmmaker, who had been a massive fan of Soderbergh’s for years. He also was part of the producing process along with David Fincher to get Carruth’s unmade epic A Topiary completed a few years back. But on Saturday, the two took to the stage to discuss an array of things from the pattern of conspiracies in life, to the non-presence of cats in the film, whether or not Carruth’s boots proved he was intact an outdoorsy type.

The Playlist has a transcript of the wonderful Q&A, sprinkled with questions from the audience as well. Here are a few great moments but to read the rest, visit HERE. Also, take a look at our thorough interview with Carruth for more insight into his stunning and wonderful sophomore feature.

Warning: although this won’t "spoil" the film for you, there are a few things that might not make exact sense unless you’ve seen the film but whatever, it’s a great read anyways.

Soderbegh: Here’s a real question: are you prone to believe in conspiracies? Do you see patterns in the world as a person?
Carruth:
No, but it’s interesting, I’ve never been asked that and I actually feel the opposite. I would point to things in the film that showed the opposite — the lack of conspiracy. This story didn’t start with its weird elements, the life cycle, the worm/pig/orchid, it started at the center with these characters that I needed to strip of their identity and their narratives so they could be forced to regrow it and that leads to a whole set of other things. But I needed a construct to make that happen, so that’s where these other elements came into play and they are specifically made in a way that there is no conspiracy and there is no management — the thief, the pig farmer/sampler and orchid harvesters are all performing these little tricks in nature that benefit them, but are not, in their minds, they don’t care what came before or after. They’re not aware of that. To me, I was trying to create something that was long-lived and permanent and universal and not conspiratorial. And not good or bad, not malicious or benevolent.

Soderbergh: Should this have been called "Downstream Color"? Cause water goes…
Carruth: Oh, my god! You’re right! Because everything in it is so disconnected, especially the central characters being so affected by things off screen and at a distance — in my head it meant something that you couldn’t know where it was coming from. That it would also seem to be coming from some place that is — you would expect some effort to go and find it.

Soderbergh: I like cats, but there are no cats in this. What’s up with that?
Carruth: Laughs, you’re right. Unfortunately, you’re right. I had to pick a target demographic and yeah, pigs. People respond to livestock and not felines.

Soderbergh: I noticed you did a lot of jobs on this film, but not the catering.
Carruth: I had to leave something for my mom and sister in law.

Soderbergh: Just how much of the cutting to black in the film was a re-centering?
Carruth:
That’s interesting. The parts you’re talking about are the middle third which to me is the most subjective. If the first third of the film is mainly about the mechanics of the world and its more locked down than the rest of the film and it’s about control and putting Kris (Amy) through a process, the next third of it is much more subjective and seeing Kris and Jeff react to the events that we know they’ve been through, but they don’t know so my attempt was — as well as I could without any dialogue, without any POV shots — to convey subjectivity, their experiences. The music, the editing, the cinematography is meant to communicate that. Even using sound and soundscapes to as a way to show connectedness, or light and flares of light to suggest a presence. So those cuts to black they are my attempt at removing any sort of concrete timeline or sequence. I don’t think you can nail down exactly how much time has passed — whether this is a relationship that bloomed in a week or two and they got married they married 6 months later or the next day or what, its all meant to be a bit fragmented to convey that.

Photo via IFC Center

See a Wonderful New Trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Behind the Candelabra’

This past Saturday I had the great pleasure of watching Steven Soderbergh moderate a Q&A with Shane Carruth after a sold-out mid-afternoon screening of his incredible new film Upstream Color. Of course, Soderbergh, "retired director" asked a sprinkling of serious questions about the film but also went on to question such things as: for all the pigs in the film, why were there no cats? And so on. But when not interviewing beloved young directors for awestruck audiences, Soderbergh is currently putting out the highly-anticipated Liberace drama for HBO, Behind the Candelabra. In an interview back in January, he said that the film was, "really fun. The world of it was just bananas. It was great to see Michael [Douglas] and Matt [Damon] jump off the cliff together. Nobody can accuse them of being shy. They just went for it. It’s pretty gay." 

Douglas and Damon take center stage in the film that focuses on Liberace and Scott Thorson—his companion/lover/friend. And with wonderufl a new trailer released, this looks to surely surpass the glitz and chintz, as the actors provide a deep emotional base for the story as they disappear into their characters. We also get a look at Rob Lowe as a plastic surgeon, Dan Aykroyd as Liberace’s manager, and Debbie Reynolds as Frances Liberace. And although it will be premiering on HBO on May 26th the film will have its debut at Cannes earlier in the month as well.

Check out the new trailer and stills from the film, thanks to The Playlist.

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dmaonrob lowedamon

From Dennis Hopper to Terrence Malick, Here Are the Films You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in NYC

I don’t know about you, but I fully intend on spending my weekend curled up with a box of Junior Mints in a darkened theatre. It’s been a long week thus far and with the myriad premieres and screenings going on over the new few days, you really have no excuse to not get yourself into a cinema. From Antonio Campos and Shane Carruth’s stunning sophomore efforts to Terrence Malick’s latest poem of emotions, to the wonder of Dennis Hopper and the debut of Darren Aronofsky, there’s a certainly a diverse mix of films to see. So to get you ready, I’ve compiled the best of what’s playing around the city this weekend—take a look and go buy yourself some candy and/or popcorn. Enjoy.

 

 

IFC Center

Simon Killer
Beyond the Hills
Gimme the Loot
Leviathan
Room 237
The We and the I
Upstream Color
2001: A Space Odyssey
House (Hausu)
The Shining

 

 

Landmark Sunshine

Spice World (in 35mm!)
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Sapphires
Stoker
My Brother the Devil

 

Nitehawk Cinema

Easy Rider
Room 237
Spring Breakers
Inside
Pat Garrett and Billy
Bad News Bears

 

 

Film Society Lincoln Center

Room 237
From Up on Poppy Hill
No Place on Earth
Stones in the Sun
Death for Sale
Toussaint
My Fair Lady

 

 

 

Museum of the Moving Image

To the Wonder
The Face You Deserve
The Headless Woman
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

 

 

BAM

Somebody Up There Likes Me
Castle in the Sky
My Neighbor Totoro
Princess Mononoke
Renoir

 

 

Angelika Film center

Trance
No
Blancanieves
No Place on Earth

 

 

Village West Cinema

On the Road
6 Souls
Lotus Eaters
Starbuck
Ginger & Rosa

 

 

MoMA

Pi
Amateur
Me You and Everyone We Know
Laws of Gravity
Viktor und Viktoria
Winter’s Bone

From Lynch to Polanski: Looking Back on Some of the Best Psychological Dramas

When it comes to my favorite films, psychological dramas have always attracted and enticed me the most. I tend to fall in love with films that focus on the interior and psyche of their subjects and filled with the unstable and troubled emotional states of their characters. Usually merged with thriller, horror, mystery, or crime, this genre of dramas tells subjective stories through an objective lens, allowing the viewer to have a necessary distance from the obscurity of the character’s world while penetrating their mental landscape.

Dealing with issues of distorted realities, questions of identity, and the link between sex and death, these films tend to be visually rich, using a cinematic sleight of hand to bring the audience into a character’s frame of mind in a way that’s visceral, sensual, and disturbing. And this week, we’ll see the release of Danny Boyle’s hypnotic Trance, Shane Carruth’s confounding Upstream Color, and Antonio Campos’ haunting Simon Killer. To celebrate these psychological drama, here’s a handful of their iconic predecessors. From David Lynch’s ravishing masterpiece Mulholland Drive to Darren Aronofsky’s dizzying Black Swan, here are some of our favorites. Enjoy.

Mulholland Drive, David Lynch

Fight Club, David Fincher

Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick

Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky

Persona, Ingmar Bergman

Lost Highway, David Lynch

Straw Dogs, Sam Peckinpah

Three Colors: Red, Krzysztof Kieslowski

Crash, David Cronenberg

Blue Velvet, David Lynch

The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci

Satan’s Brew, Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Autumn Sonata, Ingmar Berman

Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese

Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky

Spellbound, Alfred Hitchcock

Memento, Christopher Nolan

Repulsion, Roman Polanski

From Clint Mansell to Terrence Malick, Here’s Your New York Cultural Itinerary for the Week

It may only be Tuesday, but the days already seems to be crawling by slowing. But never fear, this week there happens to be a wealth of exciting events happening around the city to help the days ago by faster and feed your artistic affinities. With Simon Killer and Upstream Color premiering at IFC this Friday and To the Wonder finally being released next week, throughout New York premiere screenings and filmmaker Q&As are being held, which is a total delight. In addition, you can get the chance to see brilliant composer Clint Mansell in his first ever live NYC performance, amongst other fun events to attend. So I’ve rounded up the best of what’s going on this week for you to peruse and enjoy. Take a look.

 

Fractured Spaces at 92YTribeca, Wednesday (April 3)

Primer with Shane Carruth in Person at Musuem of the Moving Image, Thursday (April 4)

Get It Out There: Comedy by BAM & IFC at BAM, Thursday (April 4)

Clint Mansell at Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Tuesday & Wednesday (April 3 and 4)

Upstream Color with Shane Carruth Q&A at IFC, Thursday (April 4)

Simon Killer with Antonio Campos + Brady Corbet Q&A at BAM, Thursday (April 4)

To the Wonder Special Preview Screening at Musuem of the Moving Image, Friday (April 5)

Darren Aronofsky’s Pi at MoMA, Thursday (April 4)

CKTV Exhibit at BAM, Ongoing

 

 

Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker: Baseketball + Rushless People at Lincoln Center, Tuesday (April 2)

Twin Peaks Bingo at Videology, Wednesday (April 3)

From Carruth to Kubrick, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York

Well, it’s finally Friday and before you retreat to your bed or bar, it’s probably in your best interest to hit up a few of the wonderful films showing this weekend first. If you missed last night’s screening of Upstream Color at Lincoln Center, don’t panic, there’s still another showing before it’s theatrical release next Friday. And if you’re still deep into the IFC-induced Kubrick craze, what a better time to see Room 237, which is screening at multiple theaters this weekend alongside The Shining. Today also marks the premiere of Derek Cianfrance’s tragic epic The Place Beyond the Pines, which is certainly not to be missed. In addition, some of your other favorites from Leviathan to Stoker are still playing, as well as a sprinkling of classics from Hitchcock to Godard. I’ve rounded up the best films showing around the city for you to peruse and enjoy.

 

 

IFC CENTER

Room 237
The Shining
Robocop
The We and the I
The Holy Mountain
Leviathan
Welcome to the Punch
Gimme the Loot

 

Landmark Sunshine

The Place Beyond the Pines
Stoker
The Sapphires
The Manson Family

 

Musuem of the Moving Image

2 or 3 Things I Know About Her
Le Boneheur
Fata Morgana

 

Nitehawk Cinema

Spring Breakers
Raising Cain
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Requiem for a Vampire

 

Film Society Lincoln Center

Upstream Color
Our Nixon
Roon 237
Stories We Tell
The Shining

 

Film Forum

Dial M for Murder
The Gatekeepers
Eden
Easter Parade

 

Lincoln Plaza Cinema

Beyond the Hills
Ginger and Rosa
Hava Nagila