tarkovsky's stalker

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there isn't a tarkovsky thread so you should all continue to chat about him, here, and encourage me to seek out his movies.

RJG (RJG), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 17:35 (11 years ago) Permalink

YES! I wish I could go. : (

cozen (Cozen), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 17:36 (11 years ago) Permalink

oh too late. obv. I hated 'the sacrifice' but now love it. I'm sure 'solaris' ws on at the gft recently and the cinema is the only place to see that one really. momus always says something about 'textural more than textual' so I'll not. we cd talk about 'mirror'?

cozen (Cozen), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 17:38 (11 years ago) Permalink

you could've come, too.

they're showing 'alphaville' again, in a week or two, have you seen that?

RJG (RJG), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 17:40 (11 years ago) Permalink

I couldn't really. I'm super-busy this week apparently.

they're showing that at the gft? I'm going to all the godard things at the gft, which inc. 'alphaville', yeah. I have it around here on video somewhere.

cozen (Cozen), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 17:42 (11 years ago) Permalink

oh, that's at the GFT, too. I meant at the architecture building but I think the GFT is nicer, to watch films in.

RJG (RJG), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 17:43 (11 years ago) Permalink

I always view Tarkovsky as slightly medicinal... i.e., I'm taking my culture medicine. It's a bit like going to a gallery, as opposed to the entertainment world of films. The whole Soviet film 'industry' had completely different aims than Hollywood.

andy, Tuesday, 2 March 2004 19:10 (11 years ago) Permalink

i dont view tarkovsky that way at all

sokurov raises more questions about pretentiousness and lack of content (though i usually like him too)

when i've seen solaris it's been like a kick in the gut, i cry and cry--stalker i have a greater distance from, perhaps that's in the design; the best part is when he gets the phone call in The Zone

is it a published number i wonder?

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 21:56 (11 years ago) Permalink

tarkovsky is in NO WAY representative of the "soviet film industry"

he had a hard time getting films made, and often they were only made because he was a "prestige" asset

but eventually it was difficult enough that he left, and he died in france

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 22:00 (11 years ago) Permalink

Large chunks of Stalker were filmed in Tallinn, in a peculiar 'industrial-ish quarter' that's almost in the centre of the town (and not too far from the port). It's an area surrounded by heavy stone walls, I've never seen what it looks like inside.

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 23:03 (11 years ago) Permalink

I think the best part of "Stalker" is the whole sequence from where the protagonists enter the zone in their land-rover, up to where they get into the zone, and you see the abandoned tanks, bodies in armoured cars etc. The part where they are on the little rail trolly, and you can see the landscape behind them changing is just phenomenally good, esp w/the newer artemiev soundtrack.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 23:22 (11 years ago) Permalink

he should've went.

cozen (Cozen), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 23:23 (11 years ago) Permalink

>esp w/the newer artemiev soundtrack.


the one I know has the loop of the rail trolly looping while the filtered electronics slowly grow louder

is there another version?

(Jon L), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 23:28 (11 years ago) Permalink

I am a huge fan of Tarkovsky.. Andrei Rublev and Nostalghia above all. Mirror is mostly excellent..

if you haven't had enough sleep, don't go see Stalker. I don't really love it.. I've seen it twice but still feel like I'm missing something.

daria g (daria g), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 01:25 (11 years ago) Permalink

I should've gone.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 09:44 (11 years ago) Permalink

that's the message of the movie, yes. took me longer to figure it out. so how was it?

wfsdfsdf, Wednesday, 3 March 2004 09:59 (11 years ago) Permalink

I should've gone.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 10:02 (11 years ago) Permalink

don't beat yourself up about it dude.

chris (chris), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 10:37 (11 years ago) Permalink

you're right and you're right.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 10:54 (11 years ago) Permalink

you should try to see them in a cinema rather than on a TV too RJG - it helps to be away from other distractions/choices and -> reduce the psychometabolic rate down to the pace of the films
(they do indeed have alot of very long takes and long tracking shots)

in spite of his concerns with the metaphysical/religious/spiritual (maybe implied, or maybe i just misinterpret) not being ones i resonate with, i nonetheless find his films very appealing. i get the same kind of awe as when looking at a magnificent cathedral or stained-glass window - they don't make me believe in god or the afterlife, but they are magnificent.

i got more 'psychological' than spiritual stuff from them - memory, desire, regret - though from certain angles those kinds of feelings sometimes verge on something more 'profound'

he made me appreciate the visual details of things more, and his fascination with rain/trickling/dripping water has something almost sensually/biologically resonant about it (iirc there is a few-seconds shot in 'nostalgia' of rainwater droplets hitting bottles/jars in sunlight - delicate and transitory beauty, all colourbursting microrainbows & gentle chiming , created in the midst of a grotty hovel from 'miserable' weather and a leaky roof...)

solaris is my favourite - it is the only one i have seen more than once - nostalgia second fav - stalker/andrei rublev/the sacrifice all pretty equal to me
i have never got to a cinema to see 'mirror' grrrr

(and ha yes don't go to a hot cinema when short of sleep to see one - this was my downfall at the ica cinema's showing of andrei rublev - iirc (it was 20 yrs ago so i may not) it was at least 3hrs 30min long and i slept through approx 30 mins in the middle...)

Snowy Mann (rdmanston), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 12:37 (11 years ago) Permalink

I live half a block from the glasgow film theatre and one and a half blocks from the centre for contemporary arts.

I never seem to go to the cinema. : (((

I wish cozen would make me.

I will keep an eye open for showings. thanks, ray.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 12:59 (11 years ago) Permalink

do you like long takes? really long ones? ... really, really long ones?

I don't know what's happening to me, because my tolerance for long-held shots used to be so low that I needed films like Requiem for a Dream and Run Lola Run. Now, I'm to the point where Stalker's shots didn't really strike me as all that long, all told. Perhaps because so many of them are moving, panning, or tracking shots.

But, yeah, gorgeous film. As of yet one of only two Tarkovskys I've seen (Solaris), but I can't wait to catch Nostalghia and Mirror.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:03 (11 years ago) Permalink

i think it's pretty easy all told to train your eye to new aesthetic experiences, whether that means long held shots or anything else

although i suppose i prefer long shots that have a painterly aspect, that observes one or another principal of interesting composition--which really is most of the long take films that are most respected; i've seen a film by philippe garrel which seemed purposely drab and affectless and even artless in its long takes, and it tested my patience (i take that phrase seriously, i think it's good sometimes to test your patience)

i've never seen "nostalghia" or "the sacrifice"

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:13 (11 years ago) Permalink

this 'stalker' was being presented as an architectural film.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:14 (11 years ago) Permalink

RJG, you're totally welcome to come to the cinema whenever I go.

cozen (Cozen), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:26 (11 years ago) Permalink

I'm not gay!

cozen (Cozen), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:27 (11 years ago) Permalink

well, who is, really?

thanks. make me aware of upcoming trips!

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:30 (11 years ago) Permalink

when cozen is not at the cinema you will be barred from entry of course

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:30 (11 years ago) Permalink

Just piping in... Stalker presented as architectural film is quite spot on, as it is "about" moving in the space of the Zone, searching for the hidden room, moving along oblique routes.

Janne (Janne), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:30 (11 years ago) Permalink

ok. you know I go to the cinema too much tho, right?

cozen (Cozen), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:31 (11 years ago) Permalink

I know. I won't feel the pressure to match you, film-for-film.

they are presenting 'alphaville' as an architectural film, here, too. they say it is a reorganisation of the city [paris] and its component parts. they also said something about strewn and 'like a situationist map'!!!! I've seen it.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:34 (11 years ago) Permalink

"alpha-VILLE, alpha-VILLE, it's only a deri-VÉ!"

cozen (Cozen), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:36 (11 years ago) Permalink

it's going to be another long summer.

cozen (Cozen), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:36 (11 years ago) Permalink

haha, I can't wait.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 13:38 (11 years ago) Permalink

Whatever you do, don't try and smoke pot while watching Stalker, you'll go into a trance and loose track. See it in a theater.

J2Dancer, Wednesday, 3 March 2004 23:05 (11 years ago) Permalink

I can't wait.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 23:10 (11 years ago) Permalink

Nothing to do with Stalker but I just watched Andrei Rublev tonight. That's quite some film.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 06:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

...and then some?

Huh, I now recall the peculiar circumstances (the very early 80s, Moscow of all places) of watching Rublev myself...

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 10:18 (10 years ago) Permalink

yeah that chapter about the bell is madness. i like the end bit most i think.

stalker, funnily enough, was the film i had least patience. like, ive seen most of his films but that was the first time i got a bit fidgety. but i really wanted to fall asleep.

ambrose (ambrose), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 11:00 (10 years ago) Permalink

what about the shot where he follows the horses' hooves and then pans down to the battle below? yow

!!!! (amateurist), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 11:58 (10 years ago) Permalink

i think the part in the bell chapter where they are waiting to see if it will ring is one of the most suspenseful moments in all of film.

ryan (ryan), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 20:36 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I was about to say, that was incredibly well-handled, and even better, I had no idea whether it would in fact ring or not -- it could have easily gone either way.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 21:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

or the part with the geese flying by?

!!!! (amateurist), Wednesday, 17 March 2004 22:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...
soooooooooooooo booooooooooooooorrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg

renegade bear shot by cops on frat row (vahid), Monday, 29 May 2006 19:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

and i enjoyed "solaris"!

renegade bear shot by cops on frat row (vahid), Monday, 29 May 2006 19:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

this is like "mindwalk" with a pedigree.

renegade bear shot by cops on frat row (vahid), Monday, 29 May 2006 19:42 (8 years ago) Permalink

the zone is sweet!

jhoshea (scoopsnoodle), Monday, 29 May 2006 20:41 (8 years ago) Permalink

i really like this film! i somehow watched it in one sitting.

gear (gear), Monday, 29 May 2006 21:08 (8 years ago) Permalink

yes the zone is sweet. i would have just as happily have watched a documentary on decaying abandoned soviet factories. still, i didn't need like TWENTY MINUTES of rusting guns underwater when FIVE would have done just as well.

it just seems like lots of things in this movie were absurdly stretched out for minimal payoffs. how many times do i have to watch stalker take a nap??

exceptions: the trolley ride into the zone was great, the part where they are taking a nap in the creek is great, too, where we see all the different bits of detritus in the stream.

renegade bear shot by cops on frat row (vahid), Monday, 29 May 2006 21:16 (8 years ago) Permalink

actually, this was sort of like solaris - 1st half totally watchable, 2nd half same shit as the 1st half happens over and over again w/ minimal development until the last 10 minutes when some big sci-fi revelation happens.

renegade bear shot by cops on frat row (vahid), Monday, 29 May 2006 21:17 (8 years ago) Permalink

There was this not exactly good article on slow cinema. Liked it ended w/Akerman although the quote doesn't sound intelligent.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 11 March 2012 21:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

wow, Kenny wrote they couldn't even find a good print for the New School thing. Imagine how universal that will be 10 years from now.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 11 March 2012 21:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

is it true that they all died from cancers they picked up while filming in that place?? i can't imagine how wading neck-deep in sewer water in an abandoned hydroelectric plant could have seemed like a good idea ... didn't they have an actor's union?

― renegade bear shot by cops on frat row (vahid)

tarkovsky, his wife, the DP, and the three lead actors all died within 15 yrs of this at relatively young ages iirc, at least three of them of cancer which i think was linked to the filming location (though not definitively.)

omar little, Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

A while back I read that it was some rare type of cancer. The fact that they all had it lent itself to the idea that it was caused by shared environmental exposure.

elan, Monday, 12 March 2012 00:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

From the Stalker wikipedia page:

Sound designer Vladimir Sharun recalls:
We were shooting near Tallinn in the area around the small river Jägala with a half-functioning hydroelectric station. Up the river was a chemical plant and it poured out poisonous liquids downstream. There is even this shot in Stalker: snow falling in the summer and white foam floating down the river. In fact it was some horrible poison. Many women in our crew got allergic reactions on their faces. Tarkovsky died from cancer of the right bronchial tube. And Tolya Solonitsyn too. That it was all connected to the location shooting for Stalker became clear to me when Larisa Tarkovskaya died from the same illness in Paris.[5]

elan, Monday, 12 March 2012 00:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh, there was another Dyer/screening today :p


Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 March 2012 00:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

Have always heard about The Conquerer being a movie that was actually fatal for the people involved; had no idea the same happened with Stalker.

tanuki, Monday, 12 March 2012 01:24 (2 years ago) Permalink


^blood boils, etc.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 17 March 2012 08:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Not really...just 'next', you know.

I am at fkn war w/proper spelling and punctuation tho'.

All nothing compared to the awfulness of people dying from the conditions surrounding the Stalker shoot. Was dimly aware of it when a camera man was talking about T and people who had passed on. A 5 min interview on a DVD that was a kinda gem. Wish I had that round here so I could remind myself of exactly what he said.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 17 March 2012 09:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

I read Zona today - I enjoyed it. It's pretty short (you can probably read it in less time than it takes to watch the film) but that's probably for the best. It was a lot lighter than I expected it to be - more of a cultural sorbet than a cultural vegetable.

windborne grey frogs (dowd), Saturday, 17 March 2012 22:18 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh, I forgot why I posted. A quote from Zona

"As such it would have rendered that line of Stalker's - 'Home at last' - rather odd. [footnote-] Or maybe not. In the years when I used to go to Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert, we were greeted at the festival entrance with the words 'Welcome Home!' and tears always welled up in my eyes because it was true, because I believed absolutely in the Temporal Autonomous Zone of Black Rock City."

windborne grey frogs (dowd), Saturday, 17 March 2012 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

^ interview here - more of a lamentation for people who passed on, love that shot of the lamp going off..

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 18 March 2012 01:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

inside report from fukushima nuclear reactor evacuation zone

Milton Parker, Thursday, 3 May 2012 23:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

Roadside Picnic coming back into print (in English) for the first time in 30 years fwiw

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 3 May 2012 23:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

bought it at B&N a couple of weeks ago actually!

I cannot host as my wife hates Walker (latebloomer), Friday, 4 May 2012 07:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

More on the video game:


toby, Friday, 4 May 2012 08:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

> Roadside Picnic coming back into print (in English) for the first time in 30 years fwiw

amazon.co.uk have always had copies. in fact there as SF Masterworks edition which must be newer as the imprint isn't 30 years old. (2007 it says)


koogs, Friday, 4 May 2012 08:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah I read the SF Masterworks edition in 2008.

treefell, Friday, 4 May 2012 12:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

My brother gave me the Geoff Dyer book for my birthday, but I haven't read it yet. Not sure what to expect.

Moodles, Friday, 4 May 2012 13:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

A heart-stopping, high-octane thrill ride that never let's up, that's what

bark ruffalo (latebloomer), Friday, 4 May 2012 17:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

Dyer's greatest regret in life = a good punchline, esp. 'cause you suspect he's serious.

I serve at the pleasure of Dr. Dre and a team of Sorbonne scientists. (R Baez), Friday, 4 May 2012 17:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

okay in AMERICA I should have said


Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 4 May 2012 17:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

the vid milton posted is amazing

ogmor, Monday, 7 May 2012 23:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

otm, completely mesmerising.

that mustardless plate (Bill A), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 19:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

i have an english PDF of roadside picnic ... one of the fort thunder guys had it downloadable on his website, i believe it was m4t br1nkm4n ... maybe it was even the fort thunder website itself?

seems to have been taken down now but i can share if anybody would like.

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 20:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

kind of a bummer because it was where i'd go to read all of the teratoid heights comics

the late great, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 20:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

RIP providence

diamanda ram dass (Edward III), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 22:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

Tarkovsky shot his final two features as an exile in the West. He left the Soviet Union behind, and never returned to science fiction. But he did express an unlikely admiration for James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984), claiming “its vision of the future and the relation between man and its destiny is pushing the frontier of cinema as an art.”

Shame T didn't stick around for Terminator 2.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 22 December 2014 21:58 (2 months ago) Permalink

Good piece - I suppose I'll never be able to read another article about these films w/out seeing a quote from Geoff Dyer but hey ho.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 22 December 2014 22:02 (2 months ago) Permalink

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