(director/writer: Shane Carruth; cinematographer: Shane Carruth; editors: David Lowery/Shane Carruth; music: Shane Carruth; cast: Amy Seimetz (Kris), Shane Carruth (Jeff), Andrew Sensenig (Sampler), Thiago Martins (Thief), Kathy Carruth (Orchid Mother),Meredith Burke (Orchid Daughter); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Shane Carruth/Casey Gooden/Ben LeClair; erbp Film; 2013)

“Intriguing and enigmatic.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Shane Carruth(“Primer”) in his sophomore film directs and writes a mind-bending experimental sci-fi pic as intriguing and enigmatic as his debut film Primer (2004). It’s a lyrical and obtuse film that offers among many other things rarely covered in films a confusing and weird cerebral-spiritual love story and a revisionary look at Thoreau’s “Walden.”

The young hard-working effects artist Kris (Amy Seimetz) is abducted and kept in a trance after being forcefully implanted with a bioengineered grub by an attacking thief (Thiago Martins) in the street. After the grub replicates throughout her body, she’s mysteriously treated with a weird pig-induced respiratory treatment in a process carried out by an older man called in the credits Sampler (Andrew Sensenig). Recovering without a memory of what just took place, that she was brainwashed to turn over her bank savings to the culprit of the attack, Kris is mysteriously attracted to a young, disgraced trader Jeff (Shane Carruth), who seems to have gone through the same kind of abduction. They become intimate lovers and try hard to construct their own identities so as to fit into society, even as both suffer from bad bouts of fear and paranoia. Their experiences bring about warm cuddling moments, a meditation on orchids and an intense awareness of sound tones.

Strictly avant-garde and unabashedly veering away from conventional film-making, this imaginative visionary film will strike the right chord with the right audience–those who are not afraid to confront a dense peculiar film that may defy comprehension.

Upstream Color