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 (twelve years ago) Permalink

YES! I wish I could go. : (

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

he should've went.

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

I should've gone.

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

I should've gone.

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

don't beat yourself up about it dude.

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

you're right and you're right.

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

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

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

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

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

I'm not gay!

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

well, who is, really?

thanks. make me aware of upcoming trips!

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

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

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

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

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

it's going to be another long summer.

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

haha, I can't wait.

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

I can't wait.

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

or the part with the geese flying by?

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

two years pass...
soooooooooooooo booooooooooooooorrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg

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

and i enjoyed "solaris"!

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

the zone is sweet!

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

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

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

RIP providence

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

two 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

i think this might be my favorite movie now?

i watched it last night for the first time. first tarkovsky film i've seen, period. there are so many things that are wonderful about it, but i'll just point out a few things that stuck with me:

- the opening sequence. it starts with a really slow entrance through a set of open doors, but the doors almost seem to be floating in space. gradually a second layer is overlaid on top of the first, but it's so slow and subtle that i think some people wouldn't even notice. the second layer just barely ~shakes~ up and down, creating a hallucinatory feeling. i wish i was at home so i could include a screenshot, but the effect is absolutely amazing. iirc there's a sword that is part of one of the two layers, and it appears to be leaning up against the wall of the underlying layer. a minute later, an earthquake seemingly occurs and the scene really DOES shake - but of course that turns out to be the nearby train which passes periodically during the first part of the movie. it's just a mindblowing way to open the film.

- i think maybe pashmina mentioned this upthread, but the long take rail sequence into the zone is so good. each of the three characters gets a good, loooooooong time on camera, and then they each get a turn again. they're zooming off into toward this...zone...and they look fearful and courageous at the same time, and curious, and disoriented. but it's really the sound that makes the sequence, starting off with the rhythmic track noise and evolving into musique concrete. speaking of sound...

- the sound in this movie is unbelievably creative, and it carries the movie through some of the slower scenes that aren't as compelling as the others. so many of the sounds were obviously constructed in a studio and added in later. most of the time it's not 'realistic' at all but it's nearly always beautiful sounding. the film is pretty much a dreamtrance, and the sound is a big reason why it works so well. it reminds me of the sound design of Eraserhead, which Lynch and Alan Splet labored over for years, meticulously recording and editing each sound.

- i also enjoyed the allusions to wizard of oz (another lynch thing) - popping into color, falling asleep in the field of flowers, searching for something that grants wishes.

watching solaris (finally) later this week, i can hardly wait!

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:18 (one year ago) Permalink

i'm PAINFULLY overdue for a rewatch of motherfucking Stalker

a date with density (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 10 March 2015 16:35 (one year ago) Permalink

only took me ten years to finally watch this movie it was good !

conrad, Tuesday, 10 March 2015 16:40 (one year ago) Permalink

it's one of my favourites, as well.

but i gather you need to be in the right state of mind to watch it, because of how slow it is, which is one of the things i love about it

F♯ A♯ (∞), Tuesday, 10 March 2015 16:43 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, the slowness is key. there's so much time to enjoy the visuals. i only wish that i didn't need the subtitles so that my eyes weren't spending so much time at the bottom of the frame.

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 10 March 2015 16:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Just noticed the comments from a few years ago about the Roadside Picnic PDF. I did that, and I had to take it down because I got a cease & desist letter from a lawyer when the new edition was coming out. (And I was not a member of Fort Thunder, but I did run their web site.)

Around 2003 I spent some time making nice PDFs out of Gutenberg Project texts, mostly as an excuse for experimenting with my text justification postscript code. (I think I was also responsable for the first hypertext version of Gibbon's Decline & Fall?) Roadside Picnic was the only thing I did that wasn't completely legal, copyright-wise. (It wasn't clearly illegal either, but not something to argue with lawyers about.)

Dave fischer, Tuesday, 10 March 2015 21:29 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

this thread is vintage good ilx

, Saturday, 18 July 2015 02:56 (one year ago) Permalink

very grateful to have seen stalker on projected 35mm last night (even if screen was 'small') but the subtitles were so bad! so many phrases seem to have gone untranslated

, Saturday, 18 July 2015 12:38 (one year ago) Permalink

remember this thread once this place get engulfed by #futureOfInternets

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 18 July 2015 12:54 (one year ago) Permalink


Crawling From The Blecchage (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:33 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

i mean

twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 29 October 2015 23:54 (one year ago) Permalink


twunty fifteen (imago), Thursday, 29 October 2015 23:54 (one year ago) Permalink


Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Friday, 30 October 2015 00:07 (one year ago) Permalink

this is surely amongst the great works

twunty fifteen (imago), Friday, 30 October 2015 00:09 (one year ago) Permalink

it is one of the greatest

xelab, Friday, 30 October 2015 00:13 (one year ago) Permalink

The toxic looking set of Stalker is no special effect:
"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"

xelab, Friday, 30 October 2015 00:29 (one year ago) Permalink

That's a horrific story

too young for seapunk (Moodles), Friday, 30 October 2015 00:31 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah but look what they made

twunty fifteen (imago), Friday, 30 October 2015 00:46 (one year ago) Permalink

Not worth it, even for such a huge masterpiece, ymmv

too young for seapunk (Moodles), Friday, 30 October 2015 00:51 (one year ago) Permalink

When you work in the trades you develop a gallows humour about faked asbestos reports and risk assessments and exposure to carcinogens. I'd imagine if you were working for the Soviet film industry in the 70's it would be even more lackadaisical.

xelab, Friday, 30 October 2015 01:45 (one year ago) Permalink

i thought this was so boring, should i rewatch it?

Ina-Garten-Da-Vida (Stevie D(eux)), Friday, 30 October 2015 02:34 (one year ago) Permalink

depends on if you thought it was boring in the past five years or not and if you can see it in a theater imo

a llove spat over a llama-keeper (forksclovetofu), Friday, 30 October 2015 04:47 (one year ago) Permalink

That's a horrific story

― too young for seapunk (Moodles), Friday, 30 October 2015 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah but look what they made

― twunty fifteen (imago), Friday, 30 October 2015 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

You are Geoff Dyer and I claim my 50p.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 30 October 2015 08:58 (one year ago) Permalink

It could be worse, they could've died from making The Conqueror:


sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Friday, 30 October 2015 09:11 (one year ago) Permalink

My conclusion from reading that = Money is great.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 30 October 2015 13:47 (one year ago) Permalink

I was about to bring up The Conqueror.

so many phrases seem to have gone untranslated

Pretty common in foreign films that didn't have an upper-tier UK-US distributor in that era.

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Friday, 30 October 2015 14:06 (one year ago) Permalink

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