UPSTREAM COLOR
2013, erbp, 96 min, USA, Dir: Shane Carruth

As in his striking debut PRIMER, writer-director Shane Carruth’s follow-up feature uses a sci-fi premise as a jumping-off point to explore deep philosophical territory. When a thief forces a mind-controlling parasite on Kris (Amy Seimetz), she loses not just her possessions but part of her identity. As she tries to rebuild her life, she meets Jeff (Carruth), the victim of a similar crime, and the two begin a relationship. A feast for both eye and ear (it won the sound design prize at Sundance), UPSTREAM COLOR was hailed by Variety as “a stimulating and hypnotic piece of experimental filmmaking.”


BEFORE MIDNIGHT
2013, Sony Pictures Classics, 109 min, USA, Dir: Richard Linklater

The third film in Richard Linklater’s trilogy (following BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET) is quite possibly the best in its hilarious, devastating, and ultimately poignant depiction of the complexities of long-term commitment. Eight years after we last saw them, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have left their previous lives behind to be together at last - but does getting everything they wished for bring them happiness? In answering the question, Linklater crafts his most romantic and unblinkingly truthful film to date.


BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
LA VIE D’ADÈLE, CHAPITRES 1 ET 2
2013, IFC/Sundance Selects, 179 min, France, Dir: Abdellatif Kechiche

Director Abdellatif Kechiche shared the Palme d'Or at Cannes with lead actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux (both nothing short of amazing). Adele (Exarchopoulos) is a gawky high schooler struggling with boys when a blue-haired art student (Seydoux) catches her eye and the two begin a relationship. Yes, the sex scenes are very explicit, but what you’ll remember most about this intense love story is how deeply you feel for these two young women. In French with English subtitles.


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