Upstream Color: Alternative Film Review

Photo Credit:                    
The 2013 poster of

Photo Credit: The 2013 poster of "Upstream Color" featuring the stars, Amy Seimetz and Shane Carruth.

Havana Frakes, Contributing Writer

Written, directed, produced, composed,edited and starring Shane Carruth,director of the award winning film Primer,Upstream Color is a fantasy/drama released in 2013 about the cyclical aspect of life. Upstream Color follows the life of a couple whose lives have been severely impacted by a parasite, unbeknownst to them. As described by Shane Carruth, the parasite has a “worm-pig-orchid life cycle”passed down from humans to pigs to orchids, after which the cycle would start again.

As the cycle goes on, a different person or group of people benefit from the stage of the parasite. The cycle starts with “the Thief”, who infects Kris, one of the main characters, with the parasite and proceeds to rob her over a period of time. “The Sampler” then removes the parasites from those infected by “the Thief” and implants them into the bodies of pigs, allowing the Sampler to see into the lives of the victims. The Sampler uses the experiences he witnesses to produce music that he then sells with his company Quinoa Valley Rec. Co. After the pigs are killed and thrown into the stream, the parasite leaks out and into white orchids, which turns them blue. The Orchid farmers,otherwise known as the The Orchid Mother and the Orchid Daughter, proceed to sell these rare orchids where they are purchased by ” the Theif “and the cycle starts over again.

Beautifully shot, Upstream Color captivates with it’s aesthetically pleasing color scheme and unique soundtrack.While a bit sparse in dialogue, the soundtrack and imagery more than make up for the lack of conversation. Although Upstream Color may not be easily understood upon first watch, it is definitely worth the one hour and nineteen minutes of your time.