A Life of Film + [mindfuck]

Stalker (1979)

Keep your expectations in check, make sure you're settled in for a long and slow ride, and you'll have a totally spiffy time. Tarkovsky this, Tarkovsky that, Stalker Stalker Stalker Stalker. You know, the damn well near universal acclaim and legendary cult status that this little film has built up around itself is really doing it more of a disservice by this point. I was expectantly waiting for the moment when my mind will be blown to chunks by the ultimate stage 10 mindfuckery hidden level special boss climax. Only it never really happened, and it left a bit of a sour aftertaste in my brain. Then I realized that this was entirely my fault, and then suddenly the movie become significantly better. So, if there's anything you take away from this, it is to keep your expectations in check. Also make sure you're in the mood for an almost 3 hour long and really rather ponderously paced arthouse 'scifi', put into 's because it's really not the sort of scifi you think of when you say scifi, but a slightly different breed. Even more scifier, I dare say, just don't expect lasers and flying saucers and that. And with that out of the way, now I can a little more comfortably add my bit to the mountain of damn well near universal acclaim for this movie, because it really is rather good. Firstly I have to mention DAT PHOTOGRAPHY, DAAAAAAMN. This is a slow moving film, and cuts are used sparingly. It was obviously shot very, very painstakingly. I kinda wish more movies did this. The composition was absolutely part of the storytelling, and not just a means to an end, or there for its own sake. It was in perfect harmony with the haunting score, and it created some wonderful moments. And the second thing I wanted to mention... Well, I'm not even sure if I should mention it at all. I don't know if I just imagined it. I don't know if I saw these things because I was looking for a mindfuck, or because it really is there. Which, I suppose, could make it all the better, if you were to look at it that way. Certainly, if it was made any more obvious it would have utterly ruined everything. But having said that; I'm pretty convinced that a couple of times the film became self aware, and that it decidedly looked back at me through the fourth wall. At times it felt like the characters knew they were characters, and were addressing me. And I'm not at all talking about the monologue at the end.
Let me just say at this point that I fucking despise that. I hate it when a film or a book or whatever tries to be clever like that. It's like, it doesn't have to take responsibility for itself. If it's shitty, or if you didn't like it, well, it wasn't serious anyway, it wasn't really trying. It's a copout and I hate it. The really cool thing here is that I'm just not sure if that is in fact what was happening or not. This is a very, very fine line to tread, and Stalker treads it beautifully. And the last thought I shall leave you with this evening which I thought was the absolutely coolest cherry on top of the coolest ever cake (highlight to read, I wouldn't wanna spoil anything.) -
The Stalker himself was an alien, taking humans into the room to learn more about us as a society. This is the reason his daughter had superpowers, and this is the reason why he got so freaked out when it was about to be destroyed. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOAOAOAOAOAOAAAOAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOO I'm not sure if you'll think this idea is as awesome as I do, but it thoroughly tickled my fancy. And while you're at it, check out Tarkovsky's other masterpiece Solaris, which is one of my all time faves. And while you're at that, check out the 2002 remake which is surprisingly decent.