Tarkovsky

version

Well-known member
The cover's awful.

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IdleRich

IdleRich
The film is noteworthy for being kinda crazy - the Wachowskis had lost all their pull after the Matrix sequels and had to do a kickstarter to raise money for the film basically. It's really an odd film with loads of people playing several roles in different times, many of them totally inappropriate, such as Hugh Grant as a post-apocalyptic dreadlocked warrior, Benedict Cumberbatch as a Korean(!) and Tom Hanks as an Irish mob guy (I think that's right). I wouldn't exactly say the film is high art.

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Someone needs to photoshop in a speech bubble saying "Er, um, I, I say"

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IdleRich

IdleRich
But David Mitchell wrote all these books which do have odd and recurring themes... and then suddenly in the Bone Clocks he basically explains that there is a kind of massive battle between two groups of immortals, one good and one evil, and that loads of the characters in the other books are incarnations or avatars of these people. It's very odd cos it doesn't contradict anything in the original books (and they do all have hints of magic realism or immortality or whatever) but it makes you see them all in a different light. And you think, did he always have that planned, or did he just very cleverly retcon it now or what? It's a really unusual move unlike anything else I've read.
I really recommend this one if you want to start somewhere, it feels different from others and it's a truly enjoyable book

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catalog

Well-known member
Russian prisons in general are known as ‘the zone’ i think eg


Theres a book i had a while ago about russian prison tattoos that mentioned it

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Probably after Stalker though cos they say in the afterword or whatever that the phrases Stalker and (I think) Zone entered Russian from the book/film combo.
 

version

Well-known member
Was going to rewatch Stalker last night, opted for Mandy instead as it was a bit shorter then heard from my brother he watched Stalker for the first time last night. Weird.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
A couple of days ago we finally got around to watching Long Day's Journey Into Night - the 2020 film not the adaptation of the play. It was a frustrating experience cos we kept being interrupted and had problems with the link, plus it's annoying to know that the final hour long dream sequence is supposed to be three dimensional and you can't help but feel as though you're missing out.
Anyway, I mention it here because the director Bi Gan has this quote on his wikipedia page

During his college years, Bi watched Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, later stating in an interview, "Cinema can be different [from mainstream films]; you can make what you like. What I had seen up to that point were mainly Hollywood films. What I was taught was pretty boring." Because of this particular film, he made up his mind to pursue filmmaking. "Before that, my parents and my relatives thought I would become jobless after graduation since I didn't want to do anything."
Actually the end bit makes sense cos his films are filled with characters who never seem to do anything.
But in this film there is a scene where the main guy and this girl he's looking for (or is it the girl who is helping him look - or even possibly his mother, and are they the same person anyway?) are sitting on a train staring at a table and as it goes along the table judders and slowly this glass slides across the table - with both characters just sort of staring at it expressionlessly as everyone does all the time - until finally it slides to the edge, topples for a sec, and then falls.
Although in this case the glass moves sort of diagonally instead relatives to the camera instead of straight towards it, it must be a homage to this scene you would think?

 

version

Well-known member
Watched Annihilation last night. Thought it was a bit slow in places, but still thinking about it. Love the soundtrack, particularly when Portman confronts the alien. And it looks stunning; all the mutating flora and fauna, the colours of "The Shimmer".



I liked that they didn't explain too much. You're told it's refracting everything, including human DNA, and that it's just changing things. It isn't necessarily peaceful or hostile. Once it shifted to a humanoid form I was a little disappointed as I liked how it initially appeared as that strange ball of energy, totally alien.

I couldn't get a decent look at the book Portman was reading in one of the flashbacks, so looked it up and it's a book on a woman called Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells were kept without her permission and which are now an immortalized human cell line.

(Apparently Adam Curtis' The Way of All Flesh is about her, so I'll have to bump it up the watch list.)


That all that's left of her's her cancer's similar to the woman's cries for help coming from the bear that killed her. One of the characters says something about imagining that's all you leave behind, your cries of pain, fear etc. Henrietta Lacks is dead except for the thing that killed and retains some part of her.

Cancer seems to be a huge part of the film in general. The alien's warping and mutating everything around it, the psychologist is terminal, one of the other women lost her daughter to leukemia. The team's made up of specialists who cover various areas that can be mapped to it too: psychology, biology, physics etc. Also, they all respond differently to it. One of the women's just taken away and killed, one lashes out at the others, one just accepts it and peacefully turns into some sort of plant, one confronts it head on and lets it take her and one fights it and survives, albeit changed. There's clearly another layer where the whole thing's a metaphor for grief, personal growth etc too.

I'm not fussed about reading the books as they sound drastically different to the film, but I'll probably watch the film again.
 

version

Well-known member
That bit where they watch the footage of Oscar Isaac gutting one of his men and his organs or some sort of giant worm swimming around inside him was absolutely fucked. Way more unsettling than the bear that people seem to fixate on.

 

WashYourHands

Cat Malogen
Watched Annihilation last night. Thought it was a bit slow in places, but still thinking about it. Love the soundtrack, particularly when Portman confronts the alien. And it looks stunning; all the mutating flora and fauna, the colours of "The Shimmer".



I liked that they didn't explain too much. You're told it's refracting everything, including human DNA, and that it's just changing things. It isn't necessarily peaceful or hostile. Once it shifted to a humanoid form I was a little disappointed as I liked how it initially appeared as that strange ball of energy, totally alien.

I couldn't get a decent look at the book Portman was reading in one of the flashbacks, so looked it up and it's a book on a woman called Henrietta Lacks whose cancer cells were kept without her permission and which are now an immortalized human cell line.

(Apparently Adam Curtis' The Way of All Flesh is about her, so I'll have to bump it up the watch list.)


That all that's left of her's her cancer's similar to the woman's cries for help coming from the bear that killed her. One of the characters says something about imagining that's all you leave behind, your cries of pain, fear etc. Henrietta Lacks is dead except for the thing that killed and retains some part of her.

Cancer seems to be a huge part of the film in general. The alien's warping and mutating everything around it, the psychologist is terminal, one of the other women lost her daughter to leukemia. The team's made up of specialists who cover various areas that can be mapped to it too: psychology, biology, physics etc. Also, they all respond differently to it. One of the women's just taken away and killed, one lashes out at the others, one just accepts it and peacefully turns into some sort of plant, one confronts it head on and lets it take her and one fights it and survives, albeit changed. There's clearly another layer where the whole thing's a metaphor for grief, personal growth etc too.

I'm not fussed about reading the books as they sound drastically different to the film, but I'll probably watch the film again.

Don't know if i fully agree with every point below, but, drum-roll......

novelist and critic Elvia Wilk sketches a theory of the “New Weird,” a genre of fiction that’s not quite sci-fi, not quite fantasy. Based on the notion of “weird” offered by Mark Fisher in his book The Weird and the Eerie, Wilk’s theory concerns fiction that uses unexplained events and strange occurrences to de-naturalize our sense of reality. These events suggest that there is far more to reality than we can explain or comprehend. To explore this alienating effect, Wilk traces a common motif that appears in multiple New Weird stories: “The fantasy of woman-becoming-plant.” Check out an excerpt below.


Weirdness is a confrontation with the nonhuman. Weird knowledge does not deny the capacity of the human mind and body to produce knowledge, but it does not reduce the world to human subject experience either. Unlike science fiction—in which there is a rational explanation for everything—and fantasy—where magic explains it all—weirdness hovers between poles of explainability.
This makes New Weird something of an anti-genre, a genre whose uniting factor is paradoxically in remaining outside categorization. Yet it’s been given a semblance of cohesion, according to a shared set of aesthetic sensibilities, by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, in the 2008 anthology The New Weird (and another simply called The Weird in 2012). VanderMeer is also author of the very weird Southern Reach trilogy, the first book of which, Annihilation (2014), involves a woman-becoming-nonhuman. In the book, a team of women enter a mysterious zone known as Area X, where an eerie nonhuman agent seems to be taking over or “infecting” the landscape. The narrator, a biologist, at first tries to examine the plantlife of Area X to explain what is happening around them, but eventually her own sense perception becomes warped by the environment she is herself becoming part of—she inhales the spores of an organism she is studying, which affect her perception. She’s forced to admit that she can no longer claim status as a detached observer; she has become an unreliable narrator by dint of becoming part of the ecosystem she is observing

An inversion of Blodeuwedd

 

IdleRich

IdleRich
That's the one in the owl service is it? Or not. When they say "she wants to be flowers but they always make her owls"?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
This is where Garner steps in with his retelling of the tragic Blodeuwedd story from the medieval Celtic folklore epic The Mabinogion. In this story, a man is cursed to never have a human wife. His wizard uncle then creates a maiden out of flowers for his nephew; the two wed, but the maiden falls in love with another man, and the two plot to murder the husband. This sets off another curse in which the flower maiden is turned into an owl, doomed to spend eternity replaying the story in each new generation. (Or something to that effect.)
 

entertainment

Well-known member
Solaris has some great bits as well but Stalker is the best of his no doubt.

In his book he talks about people writing him scornful letters after seeing Mirror, calling him a bad communist and all these things. I recommend reading his thoughts on art and cinema. He's a tender, thoughtful, curious person.
 

entertainment

Well-known member
What is it about Stalker, though, what makes it enamate intensity like it does? It's beautiful and philosophical and all that but that doesn't begin to cover it does it?

Watching it feels like taking a point of no return step forwards in human consciousness.
 
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