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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 06.22.10] movie news scifi



Once in a while a little film comes along that blows our minds. And I mean little film. When I think of movies like this, that are made for next to no money but lots of love, two in particular come to mind. The first is Vincenzo Natali’s Cube which kick-started his career with a bang. The second is Shane Carruth’s stellar 2004 debut Primer.

Carruth’s film put him on the map but for the last six years, little has come from the director’s camp as to a new feature until recently when it became known that he was working on what director Rian Johnson called a “mind-blowing sci-fi script.” That mind blowing script is called A Topiary (mysterious website here) and the good folks at The Play List have managed to get their hands on the script. Yesterday they revealed a few details on the new project and they’re exactly what we’d expect from Carruth: something completely unexpected.


The film opens in the 80s with Acre Stowe, a municipal worker examining, over the span of eight years, “strange starbursts he sees in the sky.” He teams up with a group of people researching the same thing and their research expands from starbursts to thermochemistry to archaeology. If you’re getting flashbacks to The Last Man on Earth, you’re not alone. That right there would be enough of a selling point but this is, apparently, just the set-up for the real meat of the story.

The final two hours centre on a group of boys and a mysterious box called a “Maker” which creates white discs referred to as “funnels” which the kids, in turn, “manipulate into other peculiarly named artifacts (petals, arcs, fronds, etc.)” and which then leads them into creating beings named “Choruses.”

On the surface, this second half of the film sounds like a bit of bland sci-fi but when you consider that we’re talking about a group of children essentially playing god and creating wholly new beings, you start to get the sense that Carruth is pulling at some moralistic strings and that things are not going to end well. The Playlist is vague on how the opening sequence plays into the rest of the film (thanks for that guys) but considering the intricacy of Carruth’s previous script, I expect there will be answers and they’ll, more than likely, exercise the brain muscle. If you want to start exercising now, I urge you to consider the title of the film itself.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this production and will be bringing you more details in the coming months. For now, I’m curious to hear if anyone else is as excited about this as I am.

Via The Playlist.

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jimmydare (8 years ago) Reply

Totally excited. Primer was one of the most innovative SF movies I've ever seen - can not wait to see what this guy does next.

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agentorange (8 years ago) Reply

Totally. It's about time too. Primer came out AGES ago. This sounds pretty original.

Thanks for the info Marina!

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S (8 years ago) Reply

ooh.. primer is one of my all time favourites.

btw, topiary website link html is broken (rhef -> href)

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David Banner (8 years ago) Reply

"Topiary is the horticultural practice of training of live perennial plants, by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and sub-shrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes,[1], perhaps geometric or fanciful; and plants which have been shaped in this way. It can be an art and is a form of living sculpture. The word derives from the Latin word for an ornamental landscape gardener, topiarius, creator of topia or "places", a Greek word that Romans applied also to fictive indoor landscapes executed in fresco. No doubt the use of a Greek word betokens the art's origins in the Hellenistic world that was influenced by Persia, for neither Classical Greece nor Republican Rome developed any sophisticated tradition of artful pleasure grounds.

The plants used in topiary are evergreen, mostly woody, have small leaves or needles, produce dense foliage, and have compact and/or columnar (e.g. fastigiate) growth habits. Common species choices used in topiary include cultivars of box (Buxus sempervirens), arborvitae (Thuja spp.), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), holly (Ilex spp.), myrtle (Eugenia or Myrtus species), yew (Taxus species), and privet (Ligustrum species.).[2] Shaped wire cages are sometimes employed in modern topiary to guide untutored shears, but traditional topiary depends on patience and a steady hand; small-leaved ivy can be used to cover a cage and give the look of topiary in a few months. The hedge is a simple form of topiary used to create boundaries, walls or screens."

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James Tryand (8 years ago) Reply

A Topiary : a naturally growing shrubby thing as part of a whole aesthetic garden that is sculpted into representations of different things.
the disks being the shrubs - I'm guessing that they'll be sculpted using some form of self organising fractal techniques.
Kinda like a living LISP :D


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