So last night I watched Tarkovsky's Stalker. I had no idea what it was about going into it -- saw it referenced in an article in the NY Times Fashion magazine so decided to give it a shot. I've seen Solaris before so I thought I would be at least somewhat prepared for what the Russian auteur was dishing out but whoah. I found it to be totally gripping, on par with some of Bergman's stuff even.
For some brief background - I guess you could say I've been getting more and more into these older movies over the past 2 years or so, but I find that I have trouble finishing them in one sitting. That problem didn't materialize last night. Earlier in the day I watched Godard's Masculin Feminin and found it to be appallingly dull. I took maybe 4 hours to trudge through it, watching between reading news articles. I guess I'm not really much of a fan of his, anyway.
In Stalker I found such well done science fiction, well before CGI dominated the genre. I loved the use of color, or lack thereof, in the film. A dark, muted brown palette for the urban settings in stark contrast with the ebullient green palette of the 'Zone'. I found myself drawing parallels with other films and works of literature, but the one that really stuck with me was perhaps the most outlandish: I couldn't shake the feeling that Mark Z Danielewski's House of Leaves was heavily informed by a something similar. The journey into the Zone by Stalker, Writer, and Scientist aroused in me the same sentiments that the trek into the unknown by Danielewski's characters did so many years ago.
I thought it was really well shot too - I don't know much about film techniques but I thought Tarkovsky accomplished something wonderful with his long shots and simple camera work.