As my friends were losing their goddamned minds for this movie at Sundance and SXSW, I deliberately skipped it at both events, since I knew it was part of the spring slate at my local movie house.
In a bid to maintain its status as my favorite New York City movie theater, the IFC Center invited Steven Soderbergh to moderate a Q&A with the writer, director, and star of Upstream Color, Shane Carruth.
Even though I was subjected to all manner of hype, I'm glad I waited, 'cause this was a pretty unique event - one of those things that makes me breathlessly grateful beyond words that I live in New York City.
Now, the movie? I was actually prepared to hate it. Usually any movie that elicits any "uh that made no sense" response from the masses is something I tend not to die for. I've been a little better with that lately - Holy Motors being one super notable example of a head-scratcher that I loved. Well, I'll go ahead and put this one in that same category.
It tells first of all a very strange story - and it tells it in a very unconventional and definitely artsy way. Combine those factors and I guess you'll alienate some. But, it was too gorgeous and moving to dismiss on account of its weirdness.
What did I love about it? Well first, the inherent intimacy. There's nothing expected about the trajectory of the core couple in the film. You don't buy or not buy them because they're at "this stage" or "that stage" of their relationship. You do immediately sense the deep connection between them. That moved me.
I also enjoyed that I thought I was totally following the very splintered story, and was also certain it was all metaphor, start to finish. Then during the Q&A afterwards, turns out nope - totally literal. Well, that's fine! I will still think about my own hypothetical meanings. I guess you can do that with art.
It was not like anything else I had seen before. I am sort of dying to see it a second time.
The Q&A was fun. I was a little too deep in my own head trying to parse what I'd just seen to really pay close attention, but I enjoyed the rapport that Soderbergh and Carruth had. A few of the questions asked were purely for comedic value - such as "are you the outdoorsy type?" and "this movie has no cats in it. What's up with that?"
Good stuff. Thanks, IFC Center.