Upstream color: Or why artists should not talk about their work


I liked the subtext of the movie until I read Shane Carruth’s interpretation of it in an interview. My reading of it was a bit more profound and complex than what he intended it to be. I was a bit disappointed. Then I understood what Derrida meant when he said that the author is dead.  The author better stay dead. Otherwise he can be a nuisance and a disconcerting presence between the reader and the text. We all read into things what we want to see. We see our own vulnerabilities and preoccupations mirrored into every piece of art and that’s when we love it. As someone said, you cannot be moved by an idea unless you already agree to it subconsciously. So my advice to writers and film makers is- never talk about your work. Never talk about what you intended or what you are trying to convey. Make it. And just get out of the way.


‘Sun rise’ story of a music video

I saw a music video directed by a friend today. I am not able to get it out of my mind. Indians are bombarded incessantly with all kind of visualisations of songs. Mostly it is about boys and girls and puppy love. Or some hyper-energetic dance moves. Few are the ones where we actually go back to the music video to examine the visuals again for their own merit. In this case, I was forced to. In every re-viewing I found something subtle hidden masterfully in terms of props or visuals or story elements. It is a small puzzle box in itself.

I found the song and singer soulful with my limited knowledge about music.  And I liked the actors- I realise that an actor can convey what he feels by the way he looks at and hold a guitar- without the crutch of dialogue.

And my jaw dropped when I heard the budget of this video. Budget is no excuse any more for not having a technically sound feature film or short film or music video. Congrats to all those involved in technical aspects of this short for pulling this off. They also deserve credit for the fact that visuals doesn’t fall into the eternal music video trap of trying to wrestle away from the song with its own power display of smartness.

I would try to post a link to the song as soon as I get a post-able one.


Looper is in some ways what Inception is not. And one of those ways is that it never becomes a complete big studio movie package experience. Looper shows the courage to make some dark choices. The central characters and their actions are not dictated by audience approval. And that makes it a little more unpredictable. The movie does not tie up everything in a pretty bow for you to go home hollow.

If you go in expecting an action film you will be disappointed. It doesn’t have elaborate and expensive set pieces winding down endlessly to pumping music. And I felt that the visual aesthetics are a little raw. May be intentional. And we feel an emotional disconnect with the central characters except with that of Emily Blunt.

Rian Johnson again brings in some refreshing originality after Brick and Brothers Bloom. I am quite sure that there will be as many people hating Looper as much as who love it. But for a 30 million dollar investment, it is a movie made with some guts.

Untitled Karthik Krishnan Project

Finally when I caught up with UKKP, it proved to be a worthwhile experience. Ideally, behind-the-scene stories of a film should remain behind the screen only. Also judging a film should not be influenced by a concession for the limitations of the film makers. But UKKP is one of those films where knowing the back story can make a lot of difference. With this film, I learned an important lesson. No film stands in isolation of the physical realities of its making. Be it a big budget studio project or an indie project, the logistical realities will heavily influence the story and theme. In UKKP, this issue takes a much more radical realisation; thats all. Continue reading