Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tarkovsky, Dyer, Stalker....

The most exciting and instructive project of the last six months.... And you can do it, too.

Watch "Stalker" by Andrei Tarkovsky. Pay attention. Read Geoff Dyer's discursive, funny, charming, profound, scene by scene description of "Stalker", called "Zona: A Book About a Film about a Journey to a Room". Go back to watching movies completely refreshed and reinvigorated. (By the way, even if you don't read Dyer, "Stalker" is so deeply in the realm of the "weird", that it should have been included in Jeff VanderMeer's anthology. This is Tarkovsky's "At the Mountains of Madness".)

I could end up quoting the whole book here, since it touches so many of my own reactions to art and the world..... Too much typing, though. Try this:

Soon people will not be able to watch films like Theo Angelopoulos's "Ulysses' Gaze" or to read Henry James because they will not have the concentration to get from one interminable scene or sentence to the next. The time when I might have been able to read late-period Henry James has passed and because I have not read late-period Henry James I am in no position to say what harm has been done to my sensibility by not having done so. But I do know if I had not seen "Stalker" in my early twenties my responsiveness to the world would have been radically diminished.

"Ulysses' Gaze" was another nail in the coffin of the European art cinema (a coffin, cynics would say, made up entirely of nails) opening the floodgates to everything that was not art because anything seemed preferable to having to sit through a film like that..

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