Well holy shit. In October I wrote that Shane Carruth, the director of the excellent Primer, was working on a new film called A Topiary. It seems like that one's on the shelf for a bit because Carruth is debuting a film at Sundance called Upstream Color. Slashfilm has some details.
A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.
Primer is one of my favorite films. Director Shane Carruth famously made it for just $7,000 and the film found release in 2004, winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance that year. Carruth has been fairly quiet since then but he seems to be working on a new film called A Topiary. From a 2010 article on io9:
The website for now is just a place mark as financing has yet to be completed. I'm cautiously optimistic that this can happen soon and couldn't be happier with the filmmakers that have committed to the project so far.
But it's been more than two years since then so I am somewhat less than cautiously optimistic. :( In the meantine, Carruth worked on some effects for the time travel sequences in Looper.
At bottom, Primer is a movie about morals and ethics, about how science is able to accomplish extraordinary things without regard to their consequences. On the breathless (and terrific) DVD commentary track, Carruth calls Abe and Aaron "kids in a clubhouse" and mocks their habit of strutting around in crisp dress shirts and ties. As the film progresses, the sheer enormity of their creation throws their very human flaws into sharp relief; they reveal themselves to be untrustworthy, greedy, and often narrowly self-serving and diabolical in how they use the machine.
Keeping up with all of the extras they include these days on DVDs is exhausting, to say nothing of watching all the movies themselves. But I made a point of listening to the director's commentary for Primer and was not disappointed. If there's a Shane Carruth fan club, sign me up. Case in point: for the single special effect in the film, he filmed a scene with a DV camera, uploaded the footage onto his computer, added the effect digitally, dumped the modified video onto tape, filmed the video playing on a camcorder screen with the film camera, and made the whole thing look like it was supposed to be done that way because he didn't have the money to do it any other way. It's all about constraints...which ties into the main message of the movie as well.
Also, Carruth confirmed my feeling that Primer really isn't a sci-fi film...what's happening with the characters emotionally is the focus of the film.