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Stalker review

Posted : 6 years ago on 30 December 2012 02:24

Look I found this film overrated, all the fuss about it being brilliant, yeah whatever this film is pretty boring and I can think of about a billion other films better than this that have a lower all around rating. Couldn't keep my eyes open it was that boring. Don't bother to watch this unless you have run out of sleeping pills.

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Stalker review

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 24 August 2012 02:13

There are four ways to make a film as powerful and memorable as Stalker: 1) Minimal, but well-use, of dialogue and monologues, 2) The film should be clouded by an atmosphere of immense power and tranquility, 3) Explain nothing, but show everything and anything you possibly can. Let your thinking flow from your brain to the camera and 4) Have Andrei Tarkovsky on one's team. With the exception of the fourth, many directors can make a film like Stalker if they follow the first three rules.

Stalker belongs to the art film "genre", a genre I think of as A f**** awesome genre. No really, has there ever been a bad arthouse film? There could be, but I still haven't seen a bad one. Arthouse movies, alongside Cult movies, often attract small audiences as they are not for everyone, as opposed to a mainstream film which is for everyone, even if you're not part of that group. Stalker employs extensive use of long-shots, minimal dialogues, unexplained happenings and a heavy brown monochrome layer in some of its scenes. And, oh, it's a little more than 2-and-a-half hours. This repels most viewers as they cannot sit through the silence and/or listen to only clinking and clunking. They want action or two ladies dishing out on each-other and in this, miss out such great and innovative movies like Stalker or any of Andrei's work and Picnic at Hanging Rock, a film I strongly recommend, alongside this one.

You know what my expectations of this film were just by looking at the poster? A huge, imposing, silent man who stalks 12 year old's and often lurks around subways and/or deserted areas, checking them out, and smoking. What the film offered me was something much more better, much, much better. The word stalker here means a guide who takes (mostly) down-on-their-luck people to a room in The Zone, a place where normal laws of physics do not apply. The room is rumoured to fulfill one's most innermost desires. The Zone is a creation of a genius, an absolute genius. What The Zone shows is calm and peaceful, what it hides is monstrous and unpredicting. Beast behind the beauty. Over here Tarkovsky wastes no time to show us the place using long-shots and tension and fear among the principal characters, all done masterfully. If you think Mother Nature is cruel in our real world, then she is at her most-worst in The Zone. The way she manifests the past-story of The Professor by putting two skeletons in an intimate position makes me wanna think of The Zone as an early un-realized draft of Silent Hill. Also, it's a journey to the heart of darkness and the soul of mankind.

The cinematography is not only excellent but it truly defines the meaning of directing and show-casing a movie. I think they should invent a whole-new word just for this movie because I think it deserves it. Those who appreciate movies like these will concur while others would just crunch their nose.

OK, I'm no fan of remakes but should Hollywood do one, exactly like it is, then I'm there, or otherwise Hollywood is definitely burning down. Anyway, I would love to see a decent remake!

Now to the performances: From world-wide known actors, you know what to expect and when you don't get that, you casually push it aside, because they've done other better roles. But from vastly unknown ones, you just don't know how it will all turn up and such was the case with the three principal actors: Alexander Kaidanovsky as the titular character. Not was he only brilliant but his way of tackling his character is one of the best I've seen. Nikolai Grinko as The Professor. Although not that better than the other two, he bought a level of understanding to his character and his little dialogues here were up to the mark, but the best performance was by Anatoli Solonitsyn as The Writer. As soon as they land in The Zone, his performance takes a high toll. His twitches here and his rumblings and mumblings there really did the trick and made him the most human, realistic character in the film. All three were great in their respective characters. Even though she only appears for a short-time, I also enjoyed Alisa Freindlich as The Stalker's Wife. Her ending monologue is quite-impressive and I liked her hand movements.

In conclusion, Stalker is just about one of the most powerful movies I've seen and if you're expecting a tumbling mess, then you're in for a very rude awakening. Stalker is a must watch!


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STALKER (1979)

Posted : 7 years, 2 months ago on 20 November 2011 01:00

Para definir este tipo de cine no es necesario utilizar demasiadas palabras. Me parece que se vierten ríos de tinta para intentar describir la mística del cine de Tarkovsky, cuando su ubicación natural se encuentra en la emoción. Se trata de despertar o no conciencias, de llegar a determinadas sensibilidades (lo habitual es que el propósito se quede a mitad de camino), de conciliar estados, por así decirlo, de espiritualidad. Y para ello no es necesario perderse en circunloquios metafísicos, como habitualmente sucede a los admiradores del cine del realizador ruso y seguidores, pésimos imitadores, como es el caso de Sokurov.

Stalker es el prototipo de película de su autor, quizás la que mejor condensa todos sus intereses y obsesiones. Llámese parábola para mejor situarla, está muy cerca del cine más metafórico y críptico de Pasolini. La película conmueve y, como ocurre con toda la obra de Tarkovsky, empuja a la reflexión. Y aquí nadie debería perderse en farragosas descripciones de lo que cree haber presenciado en la pantalla y lo que representan todos y cada uno de sus personajes. Por ejemplo, el vaso desplazado por telequinesia no es el monolito de "2001...". Este último se presta al juego de la interpretación mientras que el poder mental de una niña no necesita de mayor explicación. El hecho de hallarse en un punto de supuesta alta radio-actividad ("La Zona") producido por la caída de un meteorito años atrás, valida de alguna manera las propuestas arriesgadas que plantea el director soviético.

Lo más reprochable que le encuentro al film, autor obliga, es, en esta ocasión sí, su larguísima duración. En el presente caso, menos justificada que en el extenso biopic Andrei Rublev donde existía una narración formal o, en Solaris, sin ir más lejos, que guarda mayor relación en sus propuestas con Stalker pero que hacía discurrir la acción sin monotonía. En La Zona todo avanza con la lentitud de los siglos y la metafísica campea por sus anchas en forma de interminables soliloquios que bien hubieran podido añadirse a un preámbulo, para poner en situación al espectador y prevenirle de aquello que está por suceder. En definitiva, que el trasfondo filosófico-espiritual-religioso de la película puede adormecer por su exceso verborreico, aún en forma de pensamiento.

Algunas imágenes llegan a traspasar la realidad y en ellas hay que buscar la esencia, lo mejor de la película, con pasajes de extraordinaria belleza, algunos coincidentes con la narración de poemas del propio padre del realizador ruso.


-Crítica Nº 25-

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Posted : 9 years, 10 months ago on 8 March 2009 07:08

The film inspired by Roadside Picnic is directed by Russian prodigy Andrei Tarkovsky. I’ve sat through only one other of his films in the past and that was Solaris. Although it wasn’t a bad film, watching it through can feel like quite hard word at times, given that extremely long cuts and droning silences seem to be his directorial trademarks. Stalker felt like a much easier film to digest, it was much lighter and a lot more interesting than the aforementioned science-fiction film.

Although based on the Strugatsky novel, there are many divergences from the written story. The Zone remains as the principle focus and its most cherished treasure is once again the target for the adventurers. Other than that, the origins of the Zone and the trespassers who are lead across it by the Stalker are all completely new characters and explanations. An unnamed Stalker, presumably based on Red from the novel, begins his day by trying to sneak away from his sleeping wife. He fails, but not even her most heartfelt pleas can persuade him to stay away from the Zone and the multiple dangers it presents. This is, after all, how he makes his living.

He meets a professor and an uninspired writer whom are both fulfil the role of his paying clientèle for this trip. The conversation between them is at first frosty and grim, though the professor demonstrates an air of experience with the zone in contrast to the writer who is more interested in drinking away his fears. After what seems like an unproductive plan of attack, the trio manage to break in past the border guards and high security perimeter, before travelling headlong into the centre of the Zone. The film abruptly reverts to colour during this time, showing the Zone in all of its overgrown and magnificent natural splendour. For the Stalker, this is an awakening, he feels at one with the zone, while his colleagues observe the place with cautious disinterest.

The Zone appears to be an incredible place. It is littered with abandoned buildings, warehouses, automobiles and railroad wreckages, each giving an insight into the thriving life that existed before the area was abruptly forsaken. Deserted tanks are strewn along the countryside casting more intrigue into the historical story of what happened to this peaceful village. It is in stark contrast to the village that the trio came from, which was cast in black and white film as a dreary, delapidated place. The Stalker’s hometown seemed to leach life itself out of its surroundings and everything caught in it. This probably explains his experience of euphoria upon arriving in the restricted area.

It becomes apparent that their goal is a room with the power to grant the inner-most wish of whomever finds it. The Stalker is hired as a guide to navigate the Zone, though his precarious progression soon begins to grate on his associates. As a seasoned veteran of Zone exploration, he has nothing but admiration and respect for the place, it is clear he has seen its many dangers first hand at the expense of previous paying customers. During the trip we are subjected to more extremely long cuts and moments of extreme intensity, all the while the haunting abandoned landscape is showcased in its natural perfection. Some of the bizarre scenery are both profound and haunting, reminding me of modern-day photos of Prypiat, the deserted radiation saturated city. After much disagreement and moral debate, the men arrive at their desired location and the motives are revealed.

The film leaves very little in the way of explanation and to that extent, I was glad I’d read Roadside Picnic beforehand so I had a big idea about what was actually happening. For all of the inherent dangers promised by the Stalker and his explicit caution when navigating through the zone, we are never subjected to any examples of the devastating anomalies which were so fascinating to read about in the book. This did disappoint me somewhat and although I wasn’t expecting any micarulous examples of special effects from the late-70s era Soviet Union, I thought there would be more ingenious and subtle examples of supernatural phenomenon.

Throughout the journey the Stalker almost becomes an observer with the professor and writer being given most of the lines, yet he remains the most fascinating character. Initially revered for his intricate knowledge of the Zone, he is soon mocked for his cautionary nature, before being accused of playing God with the lives of his associates. Come the end of the film, he is shown to be a man who is fiercely loyal to the Zone. Rather than only caring in the monetary reward he receives by bringing travellers to the treasure it holds, he seems to have a genuine faith and a belief in the Zone, as if it is a great overseer of justice. In another subtle hint as to his character, despite being looked on as the intellectual inferior of the three, a final shot shows him back in his house next to a huge bookshelf filled with literature, which along with his penchant for memorising poetry, suggests a guarded intelligence in the head of the troubled guide. He was portrayed to emotional perfection by Aleksandr Kaidanovsky.

Although a part of me wanted to see The Zone come alive and steal the glory in this film, it was left wholly to the actors involved. I thought I’d be interested in seeing a remake, though judging on the previous butchering of Tarkovsky’s work in the form of the celluloid treachery that is Solaris (2002), and the murmurings that John Travolta is already attached to be involved in such a sham, I can safely say I’d rather see the prospect of a remake banished from the conscious of every money-thirsty Hollywood studio in existance for the time being.

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