Soviet Union / West Germany
fades in to a sepia-toned composition of an opened doorway.
The camera slowly pans through the doorway and into the bedroom
where a mother and father are sleeping with their child. The
offscreen sounds of a train are heard as we see a glass of water
aside the bed begin to move from the train. Then we see a closeup
as the camera pans back and forth through the bed starting and
ending with the mother (whose eyes are awake as the shot returns).
The man, who was awake, gets out of the bed and closes the door...
film is incredible! Absolutely breathtaking! This film represents
the art of cinema in the truest sense. Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979
film Stalker contains some of the most amazing visuals ever
created in a film. It also is an emotionally thought-provoking
exploration of the hope, sacrifice, illusion, the failure of
the human race caused by desire. Like most Tarkovsky films,
Stalker leaves for several interpretations and raises interesting
questions through it's beautifully poetic images. Simply watching
the films imagery will blow you away, but it's message is just
as brilliant and deeply powerful. I think Tarkovsky, among other
issues, believes the genuine life is in those that sacrifice
as opposed to those who act selfishly. There's not a moment
or frame wasted throughout the entire 161 minutes. Tarkovsky
is one of cinemas all-time great masters of visual compositions
and here may lie his most visually mystifying achievements,
as he uses camera framing and movement to further heighten this
films lyrical and spiritual sense of mysterious subconscious
atmosphere. By blending together various feelings of hope, nightmares,
dreams Stalker is a film that lingers with an emotional reflection
of longing. Tarkovsky
is one of the greatest visionary filmmakers of all-time, and
to me, Stalker may be his greatest masterpiece (or at least
alongside his most poetic and most personal masterwork 1975's
The Mirror). It's a film that truly leaves me speechless. This
is a film of unmatchable, breathtakingly beautiful artistic
vision and poetry. Stalker is an absolute work of art and represents
everything brilliant about cinema! It is one of the greatest
films ever made!
Tarkovsky rates among cinema's greatest poetic visionaries and
certainly one of the key filmmakers of Russia during the 20th
century. An artist who made films strictly with a personal and
poetic vision, Tarkovsky's films rate alongside the most beautiful
and spiritual ever made. Obviously his approach to filmmaking
will divide audiences, but those willing to be challenged to
Tarkovksy's cinema are left blown away with his genius vision.
Simply in terms of imagery, few filmmakers rival the breathtaking
beauty of Tarkovsky. Tarkovsky's films are slow but in a way
that is meditative and ultimately transcendent. His films take
the viewer into astonishing cinematic universes- be it of the
historic past (Ivan's Childhood; Andrei Rublev); dream universes
(Nostalgia); or imaginary universes (Stalker; Solaris; The Sacrifice);
or even autobiographic universes (The Mirror). Memories and
dreams are always present within these universes, which often
are absorbed by imagery of nature. Tarkovsky was born the son
of a poet and the influence is reflective of his filmmaking.
A true master of cinematic space and time, Tarkovsky has openly
criticized the "montage" style of filmmaking and the
intentions of making films "with a message", but rather
making films strictly as art. As such the "meanings"
of his films are always left mysterious and open to interpret
the metaphoric and symbolic expressions of his personal vision.
After making several short films at a Soviet film School, Tarkovsky
earned instant world-wide recognition with his debut feature
1962's Ivan's Childhood, which won at the Venice Film Festival.
It was arrival of a true visionary. His next feature (Andrei
Rublev- which uses the life of a famous 15th century painter
as a metaphor or backdrop, to the films examination of obsession
and art in connection with the suffering of the world). The
film was only shown in private screenings in 1966 before finally
debuting at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969 (where it took
home an award). A perfectionist Tarkovsky only made three films
in the 1970s, a decade that marked his eventual exile from Russia
(a country in which he claimed artistic freedom was impossible).
Among the films made during his last years in Russia, were perhaps
his two greatest masterpieces: 1975's The Mirror, which stands
as his most personal and poetic film, and his final film made
in Russia 1979's Stalker which was banned for two years. After
his exile, Tarkovsky made just two more films: 1983's haunting
Nostalgia, an his last (and one of his most powerful) 1986's
The Sacrifice which was made the year of his death (and stands
as a personal message to his son). Tarkovsky's films are not
for everyone and they are difficult to truly describe with words.
I have seen and loved all of his seven features, yet still have
not truly discovered the beauty and artistic depth of his vision.
Honestly I don't know if it's possible from anyone outside of
Tarkovsky himself. Maybe the best description of his genius
is what legendary master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman proclaimed
when he said "Tarkovsky is for me the greatest. The
one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film,
as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream".