Stalker (1979)

If you give it a chance, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker mesmerizes and baffles. Made in the USSR in 1979, the Stalker takes place in a decaying, post-apocalyptic world that’s both repulsive and dripping in sludge yet hypnotic. 

Plot: In a dystopian city, two men, the Writer and the Professor, pay the Stalker to lead them into the forbidden Zone. If they can make it into the Zone into the inner sanctum, the Room the Stalker tells them their deepest desire will be fulfilled. Don’t worry the Writer is sharp enough to call the Stalker into question.

Every step of the way, they face danger. Violence? Imprisonment? It’s unspecified and you never see the who or what is the actual foe, which makes the tension all the higher. 

Thoughts:The dialog is poetic and philosophical. Throughout the story the men bicker, cheat and challenge each other. I did admire them for at least trying for more, for betterment despite being surrounded by the ugly and hopeless.

Writer (left), Stalker, Professor

Drenched, oily, dark, craggy the setting is incredible. Even in the Zone, the paradise they aimed for, the verdant fields are overgrown and look like Chernobyl 20 years after the nuclear disaster. There isn’t one inch of space that’s clean or inviting. And this atmosphere will haunt me and intrigue me.

I doubt this film could be remade by any other nationality. Every aspect is just so modern Russian. It visualizes what an oppressive, corrupt kleptocracy is: toxic, neglected, fetid, bleak.  

While the story is oblique and the characters, while sympathetic, are unlikeable, Stalker intrigued me so much that I’m sure I’ll watch it again and again. The visuals get inside your head, but not in a bad way.

Stalker is a challenging film. It often moves slowly, but the camera work of these slow scenes is tremendous. The frame of the story, particularly with Stalker’s mutant daughter who may have paranormal powers, mystifies rather than enlightens, but Tarkovsky makes it work. Few could.

The Searchers (1954)

It’s a classic movie, but not one I’d watch again and again.

No Fixed Plans

I’d heard about The Searchers starring John Wayne years ago when I took a film class from Roger Ebert. Directed by John Ford, this Western classic chronicles Ethan Edward’s search for his niece who was abducted by Comanches. Ethan’s a troubling character especially in our era because he makes biased comments. He views Native Americans as enemies, not to be trusted. 

Plot: 

After fighting in the Civil War, Ethan returns to his brother’s homestead where he’s welcomed by old friends and family. The mysterious disappearance of cattle gets the men folk to investigate and while they’re away Comanche attack the homestead burning it to the ground and killing most everyone. Nine year old Debbie, Ethan’s niece, was hiding but is discovered by the Comanches and they abduct her. Once Ethan, his adopted nephew Martin and the other men discover the devastation and carnage they set off for revenge and to…

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For Chinese New Year

No Fixed Plans

Two videos a friend shared. She knows Raz, the young man who hosts.

Kudos to Chinese Chat for having over 1,000,000 subscribers. No mean feat.

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Fake Woke | Tom MacDonald

Fake Woke is #1 on iTunes and has gotten over 6,000,000 views on YouTube. Here’s a couple reaction videos. I’ve just discovered Gothix, the first YouTuber, and have been watching Brandon Tatum for a few years.