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DVD Special features:
Cast and crew biographies and filmographies
Interviews with director of photography A. Knyazhinsky / production designer R. Safiullin
Extract from Tarkovskys diploma film "The Steamroller and the Violin"
Russian language with subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese and Russian
From the Back Cover
Deep within the Zone, a bleak and devastated forbidden landscape, lies a mysterious room with the power to grant the deepest wishes of those strong enough to make the hazardous journey there. Desperate to reach it, a scientist and a writer approach the Stalker, one of the few able to navigate the Zones menacing terrain, and begin a dangerous trek into the unknown. Tarkovskys second foray into science fiction after Solaris is a surreal and disturbing vision of the future. Hauntingly exploring mans dreams and desires, and the consequences of realising them, Stalker, adapted from Arkady & Boris Sturgatskys novel Roadside Picnic, has been described as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.
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This Criterion release is very good, however I think it deserved more. Criterion used to produce really nice packaging & booklets for a lot of their special releases, but these days, I presume because of the expense involved & what consumers are willing to pay, have cut back so most of their releases come in the standard bluray plastic cases with fold out booklets.
Anyway, the format or release is of little concern to me, when the film itself is a masterpiece.
To me it is like a painting. Some of the best artwork is that which makes you linger and stare at it, looking at the colours and images (much of the film is in a sepia/tinted monochrome before bursting into colour once we 'enter the zone'). You also spot little aspects of the image and you also try and imagine what is it that is happening outside of the picture that is driving the people we can see in the image. i just found myself staring at the images and coupled with the industrial soundtrack it creates a strangely beautiful experience.
It is not for everyone and many will hate it, but sit down, watch it and find out for yourself.