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Movie Review: Stalker

Original entry posted: Tue May 6 15:48:45 2008

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Tue May 6 11:55:55 2008 EST

Stalker is probably my favorite film of all time---the only competitor is The Mirror, another great Tarkovsky. It's also one of the few Tarkovsky films that I think really works on home video---the others just lose too much of their grandeur.

I'm not sure I have anything really intelligent to say about it, as most of what I think is "It's sooooo goooooooood!", but it is worth noting that it has a surprising amount of humor for a long, slow Russian classic. I've seen it in a theater several times, and the phone ringing in The Room never fails to get a laugh.

Thomas @ Tue May 6 12:16:14 2008 EST

And the dog. I love the dialog at the end, when the Stalker brings it home and his wife tries to pawn it off on the Writer.

This is honestly one of the first few movies that I actually thought "HD makes a difference." The film grain and details that would be lost on my old TV set, or through VHS, add so much. Which is impressive, considering that it's what--30 years old, now?

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Wed May 7 14:01:55 2008 EST

I didn't even realize it had come out in HD! Wow---that's great news. And yeah, it really does make a difference---Tarkovsky's movies are very much about the alchemy of nature photography, wherein the infinite complexity of nature is brought into a frame that can never really contain it. To really see the kind of fractal detail he's depicting, you really need to be able to see everything, and that's very hard to do when the image is shrunk, or compressed. Some of his movies, like The Sacrifice, become literally unwatchable on VHS, or even DVD on a small TV, just because so much of what's filling the frame becomes a blur, and shots that were incredibly absorbing suddenly become dull.

Thomas @ Wed May 7 14:11:02 2008 EST

Well, actually I watched it on upscaled DVD. But yes. And even then, you could see the compression artifacting sometimes--the black sections of the tinted scenes were sometimes visibly broken up as the DVD struggled to maintain the feature detail in the lighter parts of the frame.

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