Tarkovsky Film -Stalker

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  • #173722

      I very much enjoyed the video of Roger talking about “Come and See’ and was wondering if he’d ever seen the Tarkovsky film Stalker? I’d Iove to hear his thoughts on it as it seems to follow along the same lines of ‘beauty in ugliness” that he mentioned. But also on the cinematography of the film which captures a lot of the profound nature of the mundane.

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    • #173955
      Roger Deakins

        Maybe I have only see ‘Stalker’ 20 times. The most memorable screening I ever attended was in Brisbane where they showed a pristine new print struck off the original negative.

        What Tarkovsky could do was create something that was more than the sum of it’s parts. ‘Stalker’ becomes a reflection, not to put too finer point on it, on human existence but, unlike most contemporary products, it is not manipulative or showy and it doesn’t shout out how clever it is or tell you exactly what to think. I don’t see the look of the film as either beautiful or as ugly. It just feels true, at one with all the other elements that combine to create the whole. A brilliant marvel of a film.

        I don’t know if you have seen Tarkovsky’s first film, ‘Ivan’s Childhood’. That too is an exercise in ‘more than the sum of its parts’. In his book, ‘Sculpting in Time’, Tarkovsky talks about the scenes that he was advised to shoot in a certain way and that he, too late, considered a mistake. For him the scenes didn’t feel ‘true’. Watch it and see how much of a perfectionist he must have been!


          I have seen ‘Ivan’s Childhood’ and it’s great. I wonder if his unhappiness with the ‘truth’ of the way it was shot is why it stands out in contrast to his other films.

          From ‘Andrei Rublev’ onwards, he seems to begin fully capturing his philosophy and poetry on screen much more accurately. In my personal opinion, he perfected it with ‘Mirror’.


            Tarkovsky passed away exactly 36 years ago today (Dec 29th).

            I absolutely love to hear and read Master Deakins commenting on Tarkovsky. Makes me appreciate Andrei’s work even more.

            Not one of the previously mentioned films, but I found the final scene of “Nostalgia” to be one of the most beautiful and meaningful I have ever seen.


              Stalker is one of my favourite films. It occurred to me some years ago that is a film where nothing actually happens (aside from the the brief chase in the beginning) It is is just 3 old men talking about and fearing some existential event,  that is for over an hour almost about to happen any second. Genius!!!!. Even the main protagonists interactions with his family are veiled references to things that have already happened or will probably happen again. In many ways it is what last of the summer wine could have been.


                Last year in Russia was published a book “The Birth of Stalker” by Evgeniy Tsymbal  – he was 2AD on “Stalker” and worked on it from pre-production till last day of shooting and wrote a book about this expirience.

                Here is excerpt from this book, it’s on russian but i hope it may be read with google translate – https://kinoart.ru/texts/nu-chto-zh-final-u-stalkera-est-fragment-iz-knigi-rozhdenie-stalkera

                Maybe it’s possible to invite Evgeniy as a guest to “Team Deakins”, he has an account on Facebook, it could have been a great conversation.


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