DVD REVIEW: Upstream Colour

Salisbury Journal: Picture by Photo/Metrodo me Distribution Picture by Photo/Metrodo me Distribution

OFFICE worker Kris (Amy Seimetz) is kidnapped and subjected to a strange operation by The Thief (Thiago Martins), who pilfers her life savings and injects her with a parasite, which he has cultivated from orchids.

When she eventually wakes from her hallucinogenic stupour, Kris has no recollection of her ordeal.

Teetering on the brink of insanity, Kris encounters former stockbroker Jeff (Shane Carruth), who might have been a victim of the same procedure. These two broken spirits find strength in each other’s company and they begin a relationship.

Kris and Jeff’s fates are mysteriously connected to The Sampler (Andrew Sensenig), an experimental sound recordist and pig farmer, who removes the parasitic worm from Kris and transfers it to one of his animals, somehow transplanting fragments of the young woman into the porcine host.

Weird is indeed wonderful where Upstream Colour is concerned.

Perplexing, beguiling and unforgettable, Carruth’s second feature defies categorisation or easy explanation, casting a dreamlike spell with its colour-bleached cinematography and lingering shots of skin and worms.

This is Carruth’s vision in every sense – as well as donning the three-pointed hat of writer-director- actor, he also produced the film, co-edited every frame and composed the music. It’s an uncompromising piece of work that will delight as many people as it infuriates, abandoning the constraints of a linear narrative to ebb and flow in gloriously peculiar directions.

Viewers who go with the film will be unable to shake Kris and Jeff’s entwined story from their memories for a long time.

Understanding it is another matter entirely.

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