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January 12, 2012


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warren oates

Well, now, here's a film we can agree on. Though it didn't exactly inspire me to smoke. More like it re-mystified my entire mundane world.

Anyone read or interested in the upcoming Geoff Dyer essay about STALKER? I watch STALKER every few years and it gets better every time. This year, after a screening, I read something on another blog (wish I still had the link) about how traversing the Zone is like that game we all play as children where we imagine the floor of our house to be water or hot lava or something and we have to step safely over it onto islands of furniture.

James Keepnews

"Philadelphia meteorologist John Bolaris—a bar-trawling man-about-town who has been described as a 'media self-promoter,' 'weatherhunk,' 'publicity hound,' and 'poonhound'"

"...But there has to be more!"

I'm incredibly psyched for Mr. Dyer's book, Zona (that WAS going to be the title of my trio Stalker's first release...guess I'll have to settle with "No, This Isn't the Clinic!") -- his tease in The Guardian a few years back now remains one of my favorite essays on this essential work: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/feb/06/andrei-tarkovsky-stalker-russia-gulags-chernobyl

warren oates

Someone on the Criterion boards just mentioned a new translation of ROADSIDE PICNIC due out May 1st. I don't know about this forthcoming translation, but I can recommend the book in general to any who love the film, if only to see how different it is, how small a portion of this already short novel inspires the film and how much Tarkovsky makes it his own. STALKER might be the greatest film ever made. It's certainly up there in terms of literary adaptations too.

Dan Coyle

I love, love, love this movie. And I think it was Mr. Glenn Kenny, writing about it years ago in EW (in an article about the Crow, no less!) who alerted me to it to begin with.

Glenn Kenny

Wow, Dan. That WAS a long time ago. Almost twenty years! I wish I could find the piece, because I'm curious about whatever analogy I drew between "Stalker" and "The Crow," which I'd like to look at again. (Boy, what happened to Alex Proyas?) It's always gratifying to learn that my citations inspired readers to seek out more obscure items; one of the biggest kicks I got out of reading CREEM back in the '70s was reading the obscure references dropped by Bangs and company and tracking them down. (That's how I discovered Bryars' "The Sinking of the Titanic," for instance!)


I remember reading how most of the cast and crew of Stalker have died from a deadly poison which had flowed from an evocative hydro-electric station (which had malfunctioned in time-honored Soviet fashion). At least it wasn't the butts which saw them off.

That Fuzzy Bastard

My favorite movie of all time. How I want a proper DVD or Blu-Ray restoration! I might have told this before here, but: I knew NYC was the town for me when I saw, after a month living here, that a theater was showing STALKER, and got there to find it almost entirely sold out. I was sorry to be stuck in a back corner seat, but very glad to have come to a place where screenings of STALKER pack 'em in.

Oh, and fun fact about Soviet poisons... There are currently teams of scientists working in the Chernobyl area, and some are sending robots directly into Reactor #4 to monitor the state of the melted core. It was one thing when they started calling the area around the reactor "the zone", but now they actually call the robots "stalkers".

Dan Coyle

Glenn: IIRC, it was probably the scene where Eric rises from his grave and wanders home. There was a way Proyas staged the exterior scenes that felt very evocative of Stalker.


I saw Alex McDowell, the production designer of The Crow (as well as Fight Club, Minority Report and many others) speak at a production design seminar last year where the panelists chose clips from other designer's films that particularly inspired them, and McDowell showed a scene from Stalker (it involved some guys slowly crossing a room into a room full of sand, I think; I'm not a Stalker fan and last saw the complete film 25 years ago, and thus have trouble describing any scene to make it sound different from any other scene in the film).

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