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Stalker

4.4 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of Andrei Tarkovsky(Solaris, The Sacrifice) most acclaimed films, Stalker is an unforgettable film experience that evokes the spiritual lucidity of Carl Dreyer and the unbridled imagination of Philip K. Dick. Since its release in 1979, Stalker has inspired filmmakers as diverse as David Lynch and Steven Spielberg and ensnared audiences in a labyrinth of striking imagery revealing the familiar in the strange, the poetic in the disturbing and the mythic in the mordant. In the near future, an unseen alien force has taken possession of an area of Russian wilderness that authorities, have dubbed The Zone. The only thing known for sure about the region is that few who enter it ever return. Led by a Stalker one of a small group of outlaws able to safely navigate the Zone, a renegade scientist and a cynical, burnt out writer penetrate the dangers outside in search of the power and transcendence rumored to exist inside. The Stalker longs to un-do a mysterious physical transformation the Zone has performed on his young daughter. The scientist will risk anything to see that reason triumphs over faith. The writer seeks a germ of inspiration that the crumbling and corrupt world beyond the Zone no longer provides. Together, these three men become desperate pilgrims walking a desolate trail leading to one of the most enigmatic and tantalizing endings in the history of cinema. A haunting and honest meditation on the intersections of science, feeling, and faith.Stalker is both profoundly unsettling and deeply moving.

Amazon.com

Challenging, provocative, and ultimately rewarding, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker is a mind-bending experience that defies explanation. Like Tarkovsky's earlier and similarly enigmatic science fiction classic Solaris, this long, slow, meditative masterpiece demands patience and total attention; anyone accustomed to faster pacing is likely to abandon the nearly three-hour film before its first hour is over. On the other hand, those who approach Tarkovsky's work in a properly receptive (and wide awake) frame of mind are likely to appreciate the film's seductive depth of theme and hypnotic imagery. Set in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic future (although the time-frame is never specified), the eerie and unsettling story focuses on the title character, Stalker (Aleksandr Kajdanovsky), who leads characters known only as the Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) and the Scientist (or Professor, played by Nikolai Grinko) into a mysterious region called The Zone. Tarkovsky films their journey as a long odyssey, or religious pilgrimage, and center of The Zone--said to be under an alien influence--is where each of these men hopes to find a kind of personal transcendence. Despite obvious parallels to The Wizard of Oz, Tarkovsky's film is devoid of special effects or any fantastical elements typically associated with science fiction or fantasy. Instead, Stalker makes astonishing use of sound and bleak-but-beautiful imagery to envelope the viewer into the eerie atmosphere of The Zone and the dank, colorless landscape that surrounds it. And while the film's glacial pacing may be off-putting to some viewers, there's no denying that Stalker has a mesmerizing power of its own, including a thought-provoking and highly debatable ending that propels the film to a higher level of meaning and significance. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Video interviews with Composer Eduard Artemyev, Cameraman Aleksandr Knyazhinsky, and Set Decorator Rashit Safiullin
  • Excerpt from "The Steamroller and the Violin" (1960, 5 min.), Tarkovsky's diploma film at the Soviet film school VGIK
  • "Memory"-  A short film about Tarkovsky's home
  • Cast & Crew Biographies & Filmographies
  • Photo Album

Product Details

  • Actors: Alisa Freyndlikh, Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Nikolay Grinko, Natalya Abramova
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Writers: Andrei Tarkovsky, Arkadiy Strugatskiy, Boris Strugatskiy
  • Producers: Aleksandra Demidova
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Unknown), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 163 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I8OOG0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,561 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stalker" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film is as amazing as you have heard. It's arguably Tarkovsky's best film (and the last one he made completely under the auspices of the USSR), and a film that gets inside your head and your soul. The plot is rather simple. An alien force lands on Earth, and then leaves. The area where they landed is a vast wasteland where the laws of physics are suspended. It's been dubbed the zone (or 3OHA in Russian). A stalker (not the current definition), a writer, and a professor venture into the zone, where there is a room that will grant you your most inner wishes. Now, it's not what you ask for, it's what you really desire. The room reads into your soul. This is a very slow, cerebral movie (it wouldn't be a Tarkovsky movie otherwise), but it has to be seen many times to fully comprehend it. I love Stalker's "dream" sequence, which has one of the most amazing shots I've ever seen in cinema. The ending is really exceptional as well. I have seen Stalker at least 10 times, and I can see 10 more. It was a difficult shoot (Tarkovsky had to stop shooting because there was a defect in the film stock he was using. He had to reshoot from scratch, essentially), yet, it is Tarkovsky's greatest film along with Solaris and Andrei Rublev. When you watch it, make sure that you choose the original mono soundtrack. The DVD company, RUSCICO, remixed the soundtrack to 5.1 dolby, but they ADDED sound to the original film, including music during the ride to the zone (which originally only had dialogue and the sound of the trolley car). It was awful. They ended up reissuing the disc with both tracks after the outcry by Tarkovsky admirers.
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This Kino release of Stalker has two discs -- one with the film, the other with extras. Navigation on the first disc is poorly designed, so you have to dig into the audio setup to find out that there are actually two versions of the soundtrack. The default is _not_ Tarkovsky's soundtrack; it's a 5.1 dolby soundtrack which altered and added sound, including a music track that isn't particularly good and seriously changes how Tarkovsky clearly intended the film to be experienced (for example, by adding music where Tarkovsky had none). There is a very long, intensely meditative sequence to which music is added. You might as well colorize Citizen Kane.

Visually, the transfer is okay, but could be better. For the price at the time of this writing (about US$17), it's fine.

The film itself is a masterpiece, though people accustomed to contemporary film styles will find Tarkovsky "boring" -- no jolting soundtrack, no rapid-fire cutting. Instead, some of the slowest, most prolonged camera moves and cuts you'll see in film. Gorgeous if you like it (which, clearly, I do).
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There's really nothing I can add to the many detailed reviews on why this is a truly amazing film. Without writing two novellas on it, this is basically one of the more thought provoking and simply beautiful movies I have ever seen. It's more an experience than a movie, it really is that powerful. For fans of the story it was based on, Roadside Picnic, and the video game that came later called S.T.A.L.K.E.R., this moves the ideas of the original story and the game into heady ground, so be aware it is not adaptation. Honestly, I'm glad it's not. Instead, we have something that goes beyond what either of those could have accomplished.
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Format: DVD
Stalker is a rare movie experience. If you have seen other works from Tarkovsky then you will love this one. However if you are new to Tarkovsky then this may be a bit of a challenge. The film is long and slow - a bit like a dream. You have to concentrate throughout the movie and come to your own conclusions and interpretation at the end.

The story has been explained by other reviewers so I wont bother repeating what they have already said.

The acting and cinematography are faultless. Throughout the movie I felt as if I was on the journey to the "Zone" with the 3 main characters. So many of the images could stand alone as a photographic work of art.

The quality of the DVD is excellent reproducing the desired look that Tarkovsky wanted.

Sometimes I feel that "Stalker" is not a film - it feels more like a dream with a philosophical theme.

I am truly lost for words. Let me add that "Stalker" would be on my top 10 list of greatest films ever made and considering how many fine movies have been made over the years it is very high praise indeed.

In conclusion, if you are a mainstream movie goer and love films like Spiderman and Starwars then this film may not be for you. Rent the DVD if you can and at least see it once. You may be surprised at how much you like it.
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A long and somewhat trying movie, Stalker requires repeated viewings and reflection before its rare beauty becomes fully evident. Associated with the fine SF novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, any notion that the movie is a cinematic depiction should be immediately set aside. In the book, the Zone was a geographical area strewn with mysterious trash left by extraterrestrials who seemingly made a pit-stop on Earth before going on to their unknown destination. Tarkovsky's Zone, a site possibly created by a large meteor collision somewhere in Russia, is also enigmatic, rich with possibilities, and extremely dangerous. The director makes use of the Strugatskys' concept of stalkers (treasure-hunting poachers in the novel) and a wish-fulfilling place in the Zone to create a spiritual vision that surpasses the literary work.

The film comprises one day in the life of Stalker, beginning with his early rise from bed, ending with his going to bed, and a short epilogue depicting his daughter on the next day. Stalker makes his living guiding persons illegally through the Zone with the highpoint being a visit to the wish-fulfilling room. The movie focuses on the journey of two men, Writer and Professor, led by Stalker. Proper names are not used in this business. But the pseudonyms tell us something about each man.

The director paints the shabby town in sepias and greys. When the men hastily leave the outskirts and enter the Zone, natural color is restored to objects. The Zone, dotted with abandoned vehicles and an empty house, is a landscape filled with lush weeds, trees, bird sounds, and a sort of unpredictable peace. But strange rules apply: one cannot return the way he came and one must keep moving, under supervision of the stalker.
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