Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Stalker discussion thread.

Because it kind of got buried, Kev mentioned the Russian film, Stalker, in the trivia post. Strangely, I have actually watched this film, with a Russian no less who was, ironically, a stalker. Same director as the original Solaris, if I remember correctly. Very interesting Kubrick-esque direction, though unnecessarily, ponderously slow in many, many places. Though that irritated me at the time, it stuck with me and in hindsight I realize I liked it, though I don't completely understand it all. What was with the ending? Could it be remade into a film watchable to Western audiences? (yes) Should it be? Discuss.


DrX said...

Something I loved about this was the sense of dread and menace constantly present without ever being overt. Very ambiguous whether the danger was actually real or not. In any other movie somebody wouldn't follow the guide's directions and would get killed, making the danger real. I loved that it wasn't clear. Even the bomb may or may not have been real. Only the little girl's psychic powers at the end makes you think that there was really something supernatural about the place.

Is that the point, or was it an ingenious way to make a cheap film. You could probably remake this thing for about $100,000. Less if you filmed it digitally, maybe using a Cloverfield/Blair Witch-style 1st person narrative.

I smell a summer vacation project...

kevthegreat said...

One of the reasons I love this movie is that it is totally ambiguous. Does the zone really have hidden dangers? Does the room actually grant wishes? It really can go either way. Even the end, when the little girl supposedly makes the glass move on the table, there happens to be a train going by and everything is shaking. It's possible that the glass was moving through those vibrations. This is a film that very much can be completely different for any viewer.

kevthegreat said...

As a side note, this movie is probably the greatest example of how not to make a movie. A majority of the film was originally filmed on experimental film stock and was ruined when it was being developed. Most of the movie had to be re-shot, thus the shoestring budget. Supposedly, throughout the re-shoot Tarkovsky (the director) kept changing the script, turning from a basic sci-fi film into the more philosophical final version. Also, they replaced the cinematographer for the re-shoot. And the whole time the Soviet movie board was giving them hell since nothing was going according to plan. It was really an incredibly chaotic way to make a film, but somehow it worked.

kevthegreat said...

And yeah, the director was Andrei Tarkovsky, who made Solaris. Another film of his that I thought was great is Andrei Rublev. Anyways, he definitely has a tendency to have long drawn out shots, usually of nature in his films. The films are slow moving, but absolutely beautiful. If you are able to just enjoy some gorgeous shots and are not just out for mindless entertainment, Tarkovsky is a god. But it is definitely a tough watch. Tarkovsky was more interested in the art of film, not the entertainment.

kevthegreat said...

By the way, the film was based on the novel "Roadside Picnic" which I've heard good things about, but never read. So if you are looking for a good book, check it out and let me know how it is.

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