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Tarkovsky films. All of them. Free. Online.
July 13, 2010 3:05 PM   Subscribe

Tarkovsky films. All of them. Free. Online. via @brainygamer

Direct links:
Ivan’s Childhood (1962)
Andrei Rublev (1966) Part 2
Solaris (1972) Part 2
The Mirror (1975)
Stalker (1979)
Nostalghia (1983)
The Sacrifice (1985)
posted by juv3nal (134 comments total) 165 users marked this as a favorite

 
holyfuckwhat
posted by shmegegge at 3:06 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


what shmegegge said. wow.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:11 PM on July 13, 2010


what is this i don't even
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:11 PM on July 13, 2010


Whoa. Ivan's Childhood is so damn good. This is completely unexpected and completely cool.
posted by heyho at 3:13 PM on July 13, 2010


Sweet! Now I can start forcing people to watch Solaris! Yay!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Awesome. I can now begin Iteration 10 of Operation "Watch Solaris Without Falling Asleep," which has been underway since 1995 or so!
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2010 [23 favorites]


I almost fell out of my chair. Hail juv3nal, bringer of AWESOME news!
posted by StrikeTheViol at 3:15 PM on July 13, 2010


WHERE'S SAMURAI JACK THIS IS BULLSH-

oh.

That's still pretty cool.
posted by maqsarian at 3:17 PM on July 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Post of the week.
posted by reductiondesign at 3:22 PM on July 13, 2010


Okay, this seems to be some sort of joke. You're telling me that I can watch Stalker ... but I have to do it without subtitles? sigh
posted by jpolchlopek at 3:23 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

And probably space as well.
posted by Sparx at 3:25 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Holy shit! Awesome.

Although, echoing just about everyone who has ever watched a Tarkovsky film, I wish they could figure out a way to shock me awake through my computer every half-hour or so. He's a genius director but modern cut lengths have ruined me for his languorous style.
posted by griphus at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2010


Is there any indication they actually have the rights for these movies? Just curious.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2010


Too small. No subtitles. Waaaah.


But fuck. Andrei Rublev is head and shoulders the greatest movie ever made, and one of the real triumphs of 20th century art in general.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

I see that and raise you taking a girl to see Life is Beautiful on a first date.
posted by griphus at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2010


really? Life is beautiful made me want to fuck.
posted by shmegegge at 3:29 PM on July 13, 2010


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

I see that and raise you taking a girl to see Life is Beautiful on a first date.


Come on, people. Deliverance.
posted by condour75 at 3:30 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


These aren't Tarkovsky films! These fraudulent motion pictures are composed of unstable neutrinos - they only appear to be Tarkovsky films!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:30 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


We don't all get a chubby at the sight of Roberto Benigni getting shot, shmegegge.

I mean I do, but it was offscreen! What's up with that?
posted by griphus at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2010


Jesus!
posted by OmieWise at 3:33 PM on July 13, 2010


This makes me so very, very happy. Thank you so much.

[And yes, Ivan's Childhood is awesome. Amazing stuff from the very beginning from dearest Andrei.]
posted by koeselitz at 3:33 PM on July 13, 2010


Although, echoing just about everyone who has ever watched a Tarkovsky film, I wish they could figure out a way to shock me awake through my computer every half-hour or so. He's a genius director but modern cut lengths have ruined me for his languorous style.
posted by griphus at 3:27 PM on July 13 [+] [!]


That cut style was developed to keep your attention zapping back to the television when it's just one of many potential centres of attention you've arranged in your home. Tarkovsky's style really only works in a blackened cinema when you've made a commitment to sit and watch, or in a good simulation of that environment. In a cinema you actually have to make an effort to stop watching, so long shots have a very different effect.
posted by stammer at 3:34 PM on July 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


WOW. Thanks so much for posting!!
posted by Shepherd at 3:49 PM on July 13, 2010


Awesome.

Awesome. I can now begin Iteration 10 of Operation "Watch Solaris Without Falling Asleep," which has been underway since 1995 or so!

As I've mentioned before, I am a terrible and bad person because I prefer the Steven Soderbergh version, because the Tarkovsky one just bores me.

(I'm also a big fan of the book, being too much of a philistine to be bothered by what I am assured is a terrible terrible Polish-to-French-to-English translation. Next I'll be singing the praises of dubbed anime or something)
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on July 13, 2010


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

I see that and raise you taking a girl to see Life is Beautiful on a first date.

Come on, people. Deliverance.


Funny Games. Either one.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 3:53 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


More Tarkovsky films, directly from Film Annex, including the shorts The Killers (first [?] student film, 19 minutes, 1956), There Will Be No Leave Today (47 min, 1959), The Steamroller and the Violin (46 min., 1961), Voyage in Time (63 min., Italian documentary, 1983), and some interviews.

More bits and pieces: Polaroids taken by Tarkovsky (an excerpt from the book "Instant Light: Tarkovsky Polaroids), and the Film Annex twitter feed announcing when new material is hosted,
posted by filthy light thief at 3:54 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]



Amazing - this is brilliant. Thank you.

(But seriously quaking about no subtitles...blimey.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:55 PM on July 13, 2010


AWESOME. Thank you!
posted by zarq at 3:56 PM on July 13, 2010


I wanted to post the excerpt from "The Sacrifice" that is quoted/sampled in Failure's "Solaris," but I totally cannot find it! Booo.
posted by Eideteker at 3:58 PM on July 13, 2010


So I might get some hate for this, but if you can't make it through Tarkovsky's Solaris ... Sondenberg's version faithfully recreates a lot of the atmosphere and is a lot more enjoyable for native English speakers not wishing to plod through Tarkovsky's version.
posted by geoff. at 4:00 PM on July 13, 2010


Artw: "As I've mentioned before, I am a terrible and bad person because I prefer the Steven Soderbergh version"

As long as it's not Event Horizon, you're a degree away from terrible.
posted by griphus at 4:01 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Let everything that's been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it's tender and pliant. But when it's dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death's companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win." - Stalker
posted by mammary16 at 4:03 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


Um, I'm a fan of Tarkovsky but this is pretty damn questionable. I'm seeing this:

"Ivan's Childhood by RussianFilmCultureandArchives is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain 3.0 License."

And this is from that user's page:

"Our mission is the promotion of Russain Public Domain and Open Source Films and Videos."

Really? Then why am I seeing a Criterion Collection logo at the beginning? This is neither public domain nor CC property.
posted by naju at 4:03 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I will defend Tarkovsky's original as a better piece of cinema and a more profound work than Soderberg's - but agree that the film stands on it own pretty well. Also, Natascha McElhone - aye chihuahua. I'd hang out with that collection of unbalanced neutrinos any day of the week.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:04 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sadly I really like 2/3rds of Event Horizon.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Artw: "As I've mentioned before, I am a terrible and bad person because I prefer the Steven Soderbergh version, because the Tarkovsky one just bores me. "

Ditto.
posted by brundlefly at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2010


If you enjoy watching movies you should note that the MetaFilter Film Club is now in operation!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


(Can I also point out that there's no such thing as a Creative Commons Public Domain 3.0 License?)
posted by naju at 4:11 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loves me some Stalker, but I can't imagine that seeing it without the full in-theatre experience would be very fulfilling.
posted by lekvar at 4:13 PM on July 13, 2010


Good timing, I just watched Andrei Rublev for the first time 2 days ago. Great movie and Solzhenitzsin is a dumbass for shitting on it.
posted by rainy at 4:23 PM on July 13, 2010


mammary16, that's pretty much a straight rip off from the Tao te Ching.

I think I started Solaris once back in 98, and never got around to, yeah... finishing it. I do want to try again, but when you guys say "no subs" do you mean it's dubbed, or is it in Russian w/no subs? What good is that then?
posted by symbioid at 4:30 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tarkovsky films can be well appreciated without understanding the dialogue. Not as fully as with it, and not if you're the sort of person who must understand the plot, but they're certainly worth watching.
posted by griphus at 4:39 PM on July 13, 2010


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

I see that and raise you taking a girl to see Life is Beautiful on a first date.


I will see you and raise you to taking anyone anywhere to I Spit On Your Grave.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:40 PM on July 13, 2010


Old Boy.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on July 13, 2010


I saw Terminator 2 on the second date with my (now) fiance. It was a total bonding experience. Brought us together and all that.

Unfortunately, now whenever I see Shia LaBeouf, or anyone with a very dark tan, I have a panic attack.
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:43 PM on July 13, 2010


Er...

That was supposed to be Transformers 2. Totally ruined the joke. Damnit.
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2010


Here's my 2 kopeks on Solaris: the book was really good, Tarkovsky film was really good, and Soderbergh one, as well. I've seen them too far apart so I can't remember which is better. But I liked both a lot.
posted by rainy at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2010


Ёб твою мать, this is amazing.
posted by Kinbote at 4:46 PM on July 13, 2010


We got to see Andrei Rublev at the Gene Siskel Film Center. For this reason, if no other, movie theaters with big screens must continue to exist for all time.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:48 PM on July 13, 2010


Stalker is one of the most beautiful films ever made.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2010


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

I see that and raise you taking a girl to see Life is Beautiful on a first date.

Come on, people. Deliverance.

I will see you and raise you to taking anyone anywhere to I Spit On Your Grave.


Pfft. Rust Never Sleeps. Worst date movie AND worst concert movie, all in one crap-o-licious package.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2010


I see all your terrible-first-date movies, and raise you Aurore.
posted by Shepherd at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2010


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

I see that and raise you taking a girl to see Life is Beautiful on a first date.

Come on, people. Deliverance.

Funny Games. Either one.


I will marry a woman in eleven days whose first date with me was to see ¡Viva la Muerte! (Long Live Death!), Fernando Arrabal's INSANE half-video/half-film experimental craziness, which features, among other things, a man stuffed inside the body of a dead steer while (if I'm remembering right) it is being castrated. Live men buried up to their necks in the sand, bizarre sexual violence, graphic gore - everything you've always wanted in a film, basically.

Here's the opening sequence,* which gives some faint indication why I have won, now and forever, the "worst first date movie" contest. And let me say this again: this woman has, for some reason, agreed to marry me.

So, then, thank you, Fernando Arrabal, for your bizarro steer-testicle film. It led, indirectly, to my upcoming wedding to a truly lovely woman.

*In fact, holy crap, that YouTube page links to a pretty-good-quality, if broken into several parts, version of the entire film. Perhaps my fiancée and I will watch it on our wedding night.
posted by Dr. Wu at 4:50 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


My dad saw Johnny Got His Gun on a first date once. It was also a last date.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:52 PM on July 13, 2010


Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!
I'll see and raise with Bandit Queen - gang rape, what was I thinking?
posted by unliteral at 4:56 PM on July 13, 2010


1) It seems that Solaris at least has subs. What's this "no sub" talk?
2) I raise the first date movie to Begotten (I watched it on acid once. Don't ask me what I was thinking - also, Richard Kern isn't too great on acid either).
posted by symbioid at 4:57 PM on July 13, 2010


shakespeherian: it also didn't help that he kept whispering "this is going to happen to you" into her ear the whole time.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 4:58 PM on July 13, 2010


Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

Ladies and gentlemen, may I submit Dead Ringers. We did get it on that night, and it led to a fairly worthwhile four-year relationship. Ah, youth.
posted by Kinbote at 5:03 PM on July 13, 2010


Kinbote: "Ladies and gentlemen, may I submit Dead Ringers."

Coincidentally, one of my best dates ever was to see Crash. Although we'd both already seen/enjoyed it.
posted by griphus at 5:04 PM on July 13, 2010


Worst movie of the decade!

Kidding...
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on July 13, 2010


shakespeherian: it also didn't help that he kept whispering "this is going to happen to you" into her ear the whole time.

And he really shouldn't have let the rats in to gnaw on her bloody stumps that night.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:08 PM on July 13, 2010


Awesome. I can now begin Iteration 10 of Operation "Watch Solaris Without Falling Asleep," which has been underway since 1995 or so!

It took me 3 attempts.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:15 PM on July 13, 2010


Wait, so is this legal or not?
posted by Think_Long at 5:18 PM on July 13, 2010


You know, this thread produces a curious and temporary question to everyone against illegal file-sharing:

Knowing that it is wrong to have watched it if it has been posted without the consent of the distributor, do you, as an art fan a) watch it and forgive yourself if it turns out to be piracy or b) not watch it in the first place until you are sure it isn't?
posted by griphus at 5:20 PM on July 13, 2010


Tarkovsky films can be well appreciated without understanding the dialogue. Not as fully as with it, and not if you're the sort of person who must understand the plot, but they're certainly worth watching.

Griphus,
I agree.
But I do remember feeling confused (as well as flat out awed) when I saw the best known ones as a student - with the subtitles! I think my brain has ossified since. So I probably need all the help I can get.
(Mind you, there was no internet then either - for instant smart analysis!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:25 PM on July 13, 2010


We have two implied votes for a proper remake of Event Horizon -- I'll have to add my own as a 3rd. I'm also a big fan of Solaris.

Event Horizon is good until Anderson decides that it's time to go all poor man's Hellraiser sequel on the thing. He and co-producer Jeremy Bolt are a bad sign.

Here's looking at you, AvP and Pandorum. And yes, I paid.
posted by vhsiv at 5:27 PM on July 13, 2010


I have a very distinct and very powerful memory of watching Stalker while coming down from a massive three-day multi-substance high at the Anthology Film Archives.

I was convinced the world had actually ended and I was living inside a simulacrum, existing solely to fulfill the plot of an unseen and unknown protagonist. It led to me pickpocketing a member of Franz Ferdinand at Lit and spending the cab ride home (I mailed him back his wallet shut up) in a deep monologue with myself.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have probably put far too much thought into how that final 1/3rd of Event Horizon should go in order to make it a good movie and not a stupid Hellraiser clone in space.
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on July 13, 2010


(Pandorums big twist got spoiled for me and just sounds flat out stupid)
posted by Artw at 5:33 PM on July 13, 2010


I certainly don't think missing out on Tarkovsky's father's poetry in Mirror is non-trivial.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:37 PM on July 13, 2010


I was actually pleasently surprised by Pandorum. It's not great, but it's a half-decent scifi action film with a bit of gore. The ending didn't didn't bother me the way most twists do. Also, it was nice to see Ben Foster in a lead role.
posted by brundlefly at 5:39 PM on July 13, 2010


Since at least virtually everyone in the US has Netflix, I should say that Solaris is up there as an instant viewer. I presume Netflix's version is subtitled.

Unfortunately, Andrei Rublev is not on Netflix as an instant viewer. That's okay, though, because you should just get the Criterion edition. Just do it right now. Whatever you were going to watch instead can wait.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:41 PM on July 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

No way. I took a date to Solaris in a rare theater showing. I warned her it would be boring, and that was sort of the point of the movie. We both loved it. Well, we loved it a lot more after the first half hour, when the guy in the seats in front of me stopped bitching to his friends about how boring it was. But then he left.

We went out for a bite to eat after the movie, and who sits down in the booth right next to us? The guy who bitched, and his friends. And then we got to listen to him bitch about how boring it was, all over again. We both just cracked up with laughter.

Movies like this are a good way to see whether the date is a keeper. She was. We lived together for 3 years.

There are other really good movies to test out a date. I took a date to see Andy Warhol's Frankenstein 3D. When we left the theater, she slapped me in the face really hard and stomped off. She never spoke to me again.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:47 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have probably put far too much thought into how that final 1/3rd of Event Horizon should go in order to make it a good movie and not a stupid Hellraiser clone in space.

At risk of diluting the currency of my previous comment, I will watch any Paul W.S. Anderson movie. (I mean, I haven't -- Alien Vs. Predator is so overpoweringly lame that I know better than to risk seeing a mess made out of the impossible-to-improve-upon Death Race 2000 -- but I would, probably.) I don't know what it is, but I love that motherfucker. Yes, the last act of Event Horizon is weak (though it's far better as the last act of Event Horizon than as the last act of Sunshine*), but up to that point, I love it. And Resident Evil... oh, Resident Evil! I like to pretend the two after never happened, but I love that damn movie and have seen it something like nine times. In time, he will be recognized. Mark My Words.

*Danny Boyle, you broke my heart with the end of that movie. Seriously, what in the fuck happened there.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:53 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sunshine is a weird one. The premise is terrible ("We're going to bomb the sun! And it will actually make a difference!"), but the movie is actually really rather good until

/flash cut crispy bacon

the last act, which is just so

/footage of flame grill from Burger King ad

fucking bad and awful.
posted by Artw at 6:01 PM on July 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Continuing this derail: Yeah, if you ever watch the extras on 28 Days Later and see some of the, um, alternate endings Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland (who also wrote Sunshine) had in mind, it's clear that sci-fi concepts that, like, make very much sense don't really come naturally to either of them. (I'm still not sure how Cillian Murphy was in a coma for a month, and unattended by physicians for who knows how much of that time, and experienced no muscle atrophy or even a little bit of dehydration. And that's not even the stupid idea they threw away; that's the first ten minutes of the actual movie!) Solid endings, either, for that matter. I'm willing to overlook stuff like that for an otherwise good movie, though. Which Sunshine was...until.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:09 PM on July 13, 2010


Think_Long: “Wait, so is this legal or not?”

The answer is: very much no. Not a smidgen. This is not legal in any way, shape, or form. naju's comments above are right. I couldn't even find the ridiculous "creative commons" license claim on their pages, but it's obvious they've just ripped off the Criterion DVD transfers.

That's really shitty, because Criterion is probably the first company to go out of their way to release films of quality in a way fitting their stature on DVD. I can remember a time a few years ago when none of Andrei Tarkovsky's movies were available at all on DVD because nobody thought there was any money in it. I'd rather that didn't happen again.

So: I just sent an email along to a guy at Criterion about this site. This "FilmAnnex.com" appear to be registered with GoDaddy, and at least that's a US company; hopefully Criterion will be able to get these movies taken down soon.
posted by koeselitz at 6:11 PM on July 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Continuing this derail: Yeah, if you ever watch the extras on 28 Days Later and see some of the, um, alternate endings Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland (who also wrote Sunshine) had in mind, it's clear that sci-fi concepts that, like, make very much sense don't really come naturally to either of them.

I;m kind of hoping Garland does a little better with Judge Dredd.

Of course, if they filmed paint drying for 3 hours* it would be better than the previous effort.


* Keeping things more of less on topic as regards Tarkovsky
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on July 13, 2010


I was actually pleasently surprised by Pandorum. It's not great, but it's a half-decent scifi action film with a bit of gore. The ending didn't didn't bother me the way most twists do. Also, it was nice to see Ben Foster in a lead role.

Yes. Yes. Yes. And YES!

Also, I'm with kittensforbreakfast on Paul W.S. Anderson.

And Solaris (either version, yes, EITHER, shut up) is a great first date movie. You can find out right away if someone is a keeper or not.
posted by biscotti at 6:21 PM on July 13, 2010


echoing just about everyone who has ever watched a Tarkovsky film, I wish they could figure out a way to shock me awake through my computer every half-hour or so

For what it's worth, Ivan's Childhood isn't like that at all. Solaris almost bored me to tears, but Tarkovsky's first feature-length film is gorgeously filmed in black & white, tightly edited and *very* suspenseful, with great insight into children during war. Senses of Cinema calls it "one of the cinema's great war movies."
posted by mediareport at 6:27 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Russian soul is suffused with suffering.

Tarkovsky was a genius at making very slow moving movies, with agonizing long shots, but he always made them resonate with something worth seeing at the end of each shot.

Take Solaris for example. A test of faith, like many of his films. He said that the infamous freeway sequence was designed to make (stupid) people with short attention spans leave the theatre.

This is now the 21st century. Kids these days do not have the patience to suffer like we old gaffers did in the good old days of the 20th century.

But we do now have the benefit of modern technology. Let's watch the final five minute scene of Solaris. (note: funny lens).
posted by ovvl at 6:29 PM on July 13, 2010


Seconding whoever it was who said that the only way to really watch a Tarkovsky movie is in a darkened cinema. Your attention should be on the screen and nowhere else, and you should not be tempted to talk.

Tarkovsky for me is summed up by one shot in Stalker. There are three men sitting in a room. After a while it begins to rain. After a while it stops. Indescribably strange and beautiful.

If you ever have a chance to get the soundtracks, they are also awesome.
posted by Hogshead at 6:32 PM on July 13, 2010


Ah, Solaris! Worst date movie of all time. OF ALL TIME!

No way. I took a date to Solaris in a rare theater showing. I warned her it would be boring, and that was sort of the point of the movie. We both loved it.


Well, that's fair enough - and I'm sure there are grosser movies out there not for the squeamish, but the one movie-related comment I got from the date I took to Solaris was "Jeez, I'm glad that's over. My butt went to sleep."

As in, heard later, "Yeah, I went out with Sparx one time - by the end of it my butt went to sleep." "Oh, dealbreaker!"

For the record, I enjoyed it, and had already read the book, but the seats in that theatre were absolute killers.
posted by Sparx at 6:33 PM on July 13, 2010


If my bandwidth wasn't apparently irreparably quartered at the moment I'd be all over these. I don't doubt that he'll be capable of boring me at some point, but of the 3 or so hours of Stalker I was just left mouth agape at almost every shot, whether they lasted 1 minute or 10. Just a stunning film, and one I've thought about many times since seeing it.
posted by opsin at 6:34 PM on July 13, 2010


Thanks very much for this. I love 'em all, even/especially Solaris (though The Mirror is probably my favorite overall).
posted by languagehat at 6:36 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Take Solaris for example. A test of faith, like many of his films. He said that the infamous freeway sequence was designed to make (stupid) people with short attention spans leave the theatre.

Hmm.. I vaguely recollect that's when the bored, bitching guy sitting in front of me left the theater. I hadn't heard Tarkovsky did this deliberately, but I thank him for driving off the Philistines.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:39 PM on July 13, 2010


If you find yourself bored in movies like Tarkovsky's, I feel for you. This is the modern sickness. It's very common, and it indicates an inability to read a movie carefully and see what's going on. Tarkovsky is above all one of the most honest filmmakers, because he does not use sleight of hand: he makes certain the viewer knows what's going on. Most movies jump back and forth and cut so quickly that you can't keep track of what you're really looking at, and you're lost in a haze of dialog and plot; that's actually the point of modern cinema, to trick the viewer into swallowing whatever they hand it by hitting the perfect amount of engagement to keep you dully involved.

When you find yourself unable to watch scenes that last longer than five minutes; when you find yourself squirming during the driving sequence at the beginning of Solaris or the one-shot house-burning sequence at the end of The Sacrifice, if you find yourself wanting to get up in the middle of the train exchange in The Stalker – there is one perfect, shining cure for this sort of ennui.

You should watch Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's masterwork Hitler: Ein Film Aus Deutschland. And you should watch it the way it was intended to be watched: in its full, uncut, 442-minute glory. This works best with a small group of people who find themselves similarly fed up with their own limited capacity to really watch a film; this movie can be a transformative experience, one that changes you for the better. It has no plot, it has no characters (well, one character), it largely consists of monologues and diatribes and meditations (Hitler as Charlie Chaplin, Hitler as normal person, Hitler as Frankenstein, etc) and it is seven and a half hours long. And – it is thoroughly brilliant. By the end, a person who's fought hard enough to open their mind to it and work through it finds her or himself struggling to take it all in, to stuff all this awesome and incredibly powerful stuff into the brain and keep it before it flies away on the air.

After going through Hitler, you will find Tarkovsky's movies light, touching, and quietly pleasant; they will not seem to you to be boring in any way. Most other movies, on the other hand, will suddenly be immediately transparent as vague shams.
posted by koeselitz at 6:55 PM on July 13, 2010 [18 favorites]


Friend of mine (male) chose "Harold and Maude" for a first date film. It didn't go well. I mean, I like the movie, but... nah, it didn't go well.

As for these, looks interesting and is definitely a blank space on my map. Thanks for posting!
posted by not_on_display at 6:56 PM on July 13, 2010


I've seen all y'all date movies and promise you that Lukas Moodysson's A Hole in My Heart (trailer) is absolutely the worst. I didn't go on a first date to see it but did take a date.

Later that night she said to me, "I can't believe you took me to see a movie where men shoot at pictures of a woman's cunt. And that wasn't the most misogynistic scene in the film."

And Solaris can be watched online for $5 on the Criterion site.
posted by dobbs at 7:02 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


dobbs: “And Solaris can be watched online for $5 on the Criterion site.”

Awesome! This, a hundred times. Yes.

Seriously, please: anybody who's wanting to see Solaris should skip the dodgy illegal links in the post on go to dobbs' link, pay the measly five bucks, and watch it in much better quality – knowing, of course, that you'll be supporting the release of good movies on DVD with those five bucks.
posted by koeselitz at 7:17 PM on July 13, 2010


I seriously almost broke up with someone because he made me watch Funny Games.
posted by nev at 7:28 PM on July 13, 2010


"The Sacrifice" was my first, and it's still my favorite. Puts the fear and trembling in me every time.
posted by Iridic at 7:37 PM on July 13, 2010


I seriously almost broke up with someone because he made me watch Funny Games.

No, no, that's not right. If someone you're dating makes you watch Funny Games, you change your number, move to another state, and buy a dog. A BIG dog.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:39 PM on July 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The answer is: very much no. Not a smidgen. This is not legal in any way, shape, or form. naju's comments above are right. I couldn't even find the ridiculous "creative commons" license claim on their pages, but it's obvious they've just ripped off the Criterion DVD transfers.

In that case I would just like to register my discomfort with this being linked to on the front page. Solaris is also available on Netflix instant for those who have access.
posted by Think_Long at 7:49 PM on July 13, 2010


The answer is: very much no. Not a smidgen. This is not legal in any way, shape, or form. naju's comments above are right. I couldn't even find the ridiculous "creative commons" license claim on their pages, but it's obvious they've just ripped off the Criterion DVD transfers.

Why don't you think Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel applies here?
posted by enn at 8:02 PM on July 13, 2010


I watched 10 mins of Ivan's Childhood and a crapload of commericals. Too bad, Ivan's Childhood was just getting going...

Anyhow, I too, voice my discomfort with this being FPP material. This is dodgy underhanded crap and Criterion is hands down my favorite DVD company so I'm not really into getting forced to watch commercials for these twats so they rip off Criterion and Tarkovsky's estate.

I've just gone ahead and cued up the DVD's on Netflix.
posted by Skygazer at 8:05 PM on July 13, 2010


25. I live outside North America. Can I still watch your movies online?

Generally, no. In certain cases, where we have rights outside North America, we will make our films available in other territories, but as a rule we are a North American publisher.


Ah, of course. Sigh.
posted by Iosephus at 8:08 PM on July 13, 2010


No, no, that's not right. If someone you're dating makes you watch Funny Games, you change your number, move to another state, and buy a dog. A BIG dog.

And never, never, absolutely never open the door for someone wanting to borrow some eggs...
posted by Skygazer at 8:08 PM on July 13, 2010


(That was Criterion's FAQ, for those wondering what I'm mumbling about. *shakes fist*)
posted by Iosephus at 8:09 PM on July 13, 2010


enn: “Why don't you think Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel applies here?”

Ha. If you can cite a single case where Bridgeman has been applied to film transfers to DVD, I will be duly amazed. As it is, well... I don't think it does.

And regardless of that – I honestly don't care what the law is, in the end. My own personal concern is that this shit hurts Criterion directly. And it's one thing when we're talking about multinational conglomerates and large corporations that can fend for themselves, and who don't feel the sting; but Criterion? Seriously, five years ago anybody who tried to do what they're doing now faced instant bankruptcy; the DVD market for fine-grade transfers of world cinema, much of which is of strange and exotic provenance, isn't exactly thriving even now. Criterion deserves all the help they can get. I can list a dozen movies right now that had only been available on twenty-year-old VHS until Criterion had the balls to pick them up and actually release a good print. And they actually try to make the DVD look good – I've seen plenty of shitty transfers that were done by small operations that just didn't know any better.

It's really not a legal issue for me. It's a moral one.
posted by koeselitz at 8:14 PM on July 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


[And I'd be saying the same thing here even if this were perfectly legal.]
posted by koeselitz at 8:15 PM on July 13, 2010


Criterion deserves all the help they can get.

I know Criterion does good work and it deserves whatever income it gets, but I don't think it deserves to be granted de facto ownership of things that are in the public domain just because it did the first or best transfer. It's a moral issue for me too — private interests trying to wall off public goods in order to profit from them is not new, the use of exclusive physical access to public-domain works to exert "quasi-copyright control" is not new, and I don't think it's OK just because it's a small company that does it. I don't even think it's OK when libraries and archives do it. The public's right to reproduce public domain material freely shouldn't be so lightly thrown aside just because someone cleans up a print.

I'm taking the creators of this site at their word that the films themselves are in the public domain in Russia; I don't know anything about Russian copyright law.
posted by enn at 8:25 PM on July 13, 2010


Andrei Rublev is one of the most moving motion pictures.
posted by nola at 8:26 PM on July 13, 2010


I'm taking the creators of this site at their word that the films themselves are in the public domain in Russia; I don't know anything about Russian copyright law.

Well but these transfers are from Criterion. If they were public domain in Russia, wouldn't they have public domain transfers? The fact that these are Criterion rips would seem to indicate that this is shitty.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:48 PM on July 13, 2010


enn: “I know Criterion does good work and it deserves whatever income it gets, but I don't think it deserves to be granted de facto ownership of things that are in the public domain just because it did the first or best transfer.”

No, they deserve to be granted de facto ownership because none of Tarkovsky's films have actually entered the public domain yet (at least by US law) and because they were originally released internationally through arrangement with Tarkovsky by Janus Films, Criterion's parent company.
posted by koeselitz at 8:48 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


enn: “I'm taking the creators of this site at their word that the films themselves are in the public domain in Russia; I don't know anything about Russian copyright law.”

Sorry, I missed this part. But do you also take them at their words when they say they're releasing this under the "Creative Commons Public Domain 3.0" license? Even though there is no such thing? Have they invented this new license? I'm a big supporter of Creative Commons. This stuff only makes Creative Commons weaker by misusing it to serve up copyrighted movies and make money by sticking ads all over them.
posted by koeselitz at 8:50 PM on July 13, 2010


Also, for what it's worth, Tarkovsky's movies clearly aren't in the public domain in Russia, either. Believe it or not, neither would they have been public domain in the USSR, which joined the international Universal Copyright Convention in 1973.
posted by koeselitz at 9:00 PM on July 13, 2010


A friend of mine went to see The Mirror Has Two Faces on a first date, but it worked out in the end because they both hated it so much they bonded while making fun of it over coffee afterward. My brother dumped a girl because they saw Indian Summer together and she loved it. My first official date with my future wife was going to see Eyes Without A Face (but it was her pick and that movie is pretty good, albeit not typical date fodder).
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:05 PM on July 13, 2010


Also, what everyone else said about Sunshine. Pretty high on the list of Movies That Start Off Pretty Good Then Fall Off A Cliff.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:07 PM on July 13, 2010


I think about that Solaris freeway sequence whenever I'm driving eastbound on I-90 through Mercer Island, which is a coincidence, 'cause Bellevue always reminds me of my dead wife.
posted by flechsig at 10:03 PM on July 13, 2010


Sparx said: "Well, that's fair enough - and I'm sure there are grosser movies out there not for the squeamish, but the one movie-related comment I got from the date I took to Solaris was "Jeez, I'm glad that's over. My butt went to sleep."

As in, heard later, "Yeah, I went out with Sparx one time - by the end of it my butt went to sleep." "Oh, dealbreaker!""


"My Tarkovsky runs deep, runs deep put her ass to sleep"

I shall now proceed to refer to my manhood as "The Great Tarkovsky"
posted by symbioid at 10:18 PM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: "Criterion deserves all the help they can get."

Granted, I'm pretty spoiled for choice as a grad student in cinema in the LA area. I can get to see almost anything. Why, just look at what goes on in LA on a given week, not to mention the class screenings (but keep in mind attending screenings for classes in which you are not enrolled is a breach of copyright law - No, No, No!!) and archives... and Cinefile, which actually rents out ripped DVDs of impossible-to-find things, like Between Time and Timbuktu and The Evening Primrose...

...but Criterion? Their prestige is pretty tarnished and their value pretty dilute in my eyes. Maybe it's the pan and scan Dazed and Confused... or maybe it's that they stop producing things rather abruptly -- where's my Cleo from 5 to 7?!!? -- but mostly it's the 2 discs of Bruckheimer for every 1 of Brakhage. Ugh. Sour taste in my mouth.

but eh. They're 50% off at B&N right now, fyi.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:46 PM on July 13, 2010


Sorry, I missed this part. But do you also take them at their words when they say they're releasing this under the "Creative Commons Public Domain 3.0" license? Even though there is no such thing? Have they invented this new license? I'm a big supporter of Creative Commons. This stuff only makes Creative Commons weaker by misusing it to serve up copyrighted movies and make money by sticking ads all over them.

Well actually, there IS such a thing. CC issued their own certification of PD works, as a "Creative Commons Public Domain License." This is one of the big problems with CC's licensing, they are trying to become a secondary license authority for PD works, when none is actually needed. They're currently using the public domain to enhance their authority over licensing.

But ultimately CC is worthless. For a long time CC said it would not offer PD licenses because there was no way to assure a work was PD. CC is based on copyright waivers, it only works when a valid copyright holder agrees to waive his rights per the CC license terms. But the big problem is, there is frequently no way to establish that the CC waiver was granted by a valid license holder. I have seen several legal cases over people who got sued for using "CC licensed" photos they got off the web, but it turned out they were pictures swiped from the original copyright holders and reposted under an invalid CC license. Anyone can take any picture from anywhere, slap a CC license on it, that is often the default license on some blog software packages, it slaps CC on everything. And if you are a professional publisher, you have deep pockets, so your potential liability over copyright infringement is huge. So CC licenses are strictly for amateurs. Pros won't touch CC licensed artwork, for fear that the CC waiver wasn't issued by the original creator.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:10 AM on July 14, 2010


His films really benefit from film screening.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:29 AM on July 14, 2010


Self-link describing some of my favourite Tarkovsky moments (the wind blowing across the field is such a mundane yet magical scene).

Yes, his films are slow, even for someone with a decent attention span, but often the slowness is needed, and the great moments are worth the wait.
posted by malevolent at 4:48 AM on July 14, 2010


If you find yourself bored in movies like Tarkovsky's, I feel for you. This is the modern sickness. It's very common, and it indicates an inability to read a movie carefully and see what's going on.

Whatever. I adore slow, richly symbolic movies. I was just surprised and disappointed in Solaris, after all I'd read about it. I've since learned the version I watched was the original, terribly subtitled one, but most of the folks who've praised the movie to high heaven had watched that version, too. *shrug* De gustibus.
posted by mediareport at 4:59 AM on July 14, 2010


*excited to pop the new release of Antonioni's Red Desert into the player tonight*
posted by mediareport at 5:00 AM on July 14, 2010


I really have trouble watching films now because the meds I'm on fuck with my attention span - if it's a bit trashy, I can cope, and I can watch episodes of series with long story arcs well enough, but I don't think I could do these justice.

Oh, and I went to see The Avengers on a date. Lordy.
posted by mippy at 8:10 AM on July 14, 2010


mediareport: “Whatever. I adore slow, richly symbolic movies. I was just surprised and disappointed in Solaris, after all I'd read about it. I've since learned the version I watched was the original, terribly subtitled one, but most of the folks who've praised the movie to high heaven had watched that version, too. *shrug* De gustibus.”

With all of what I said above, I have to say that there are parts of Solaris that are (if this makes sense) legitimately boring. By that I mean: it was at the time seen by some in the USSR as an attempt to "answer" the American achievements of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and thus it got a lot of attention during production, a lot of money and a lot of outside input. I don't think that's really how Tarkovsky liked to work at all, and while Solaris is still very much his, and very much a great film, there are moments when I think there's almost an institutionally-imposed sterility on the whole thing. In the end, while Solaris is almost certainly Tarkovsky's most popular movie (mostly because people will watch anything with a sci-fi element) I think it's also probably his worst.

So I should say: if that's the only Tarkovsky movie you've ever seen, I really hope you take a chance and watch a few others. For one thing, Andrei Rublev is often-cited, and is probably his most accessible; if you're into "slow, richly symbolic movies," you will not be bored by it. It is a period piece, set in the 1400s; but while he makes the film eminently believable, it's very much about thoughtful creation, so it's very imaginative. The opening sequence features a man flying in a medieval balloon, and the climax of the film concerns the forging of a gigantic bell. Really, truly great movie.

There are two others of his films that I think also make very good entry-points: The Sacrifice and The Stalker. Both are somewhat fantastical in plot. The Sacrifice is one of the most poignant and beautiful things I've ever seen in my life; Tarkovsky wrote and filmed it in Sweden while he was in the final stages of his death of lung cancer. It regards a man and his young son centrally, although they are surrounded by others (family members, friends, the old man's shrill wife, and the friendly but mysterious postman) and it was actually dedicated to Andrei Tarkovsky Jr. The plot: in the Swedish countryside, after an apparent bomb scare and a loud, frightening quaking in the night, the man and his family hear on the radio that nuclear war is imminent, and the destruction of the world is an impeding possibility. In the moment, overcome by feeling, the man prays pleadingly: 'please, let them be spared; take me, ask me to do anything, only please let them be spared.' The next morning, the mysterious postman appears with a message: 'I know how you can do it.'

Stalker is still in my mind Tarkovsky's greatest film. It distills many of the things he'd wanted to say with Andrei Rublev intensely and potently. It's about The Writer and The Professor, who have hired The Stalker to lead them into and through The Zone so that they can reach The Room. Really, though, it's probably one of the greatest meditations on what faith means that I know of.
posted by koeselitz at 8:11 AM on July 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And since we're doing the date-movie discussion:

On a first date, I once took a girl to see a movie I'd been dying to see since I'd heard of it – The Happiness Of The Katakuris, Takashi Miike's classic Japanese zombie musical. She never called me back. [Although I have to be honest – I still think that was an awesome date movie, and I take the fact that she never called back as evidence that she wasn't worth wasting time on. Even if it was a bit... unconventional...]
posted by koeselitz at 8:15 AM on July 14, 2010


As far as Takashi Miike goes, you probably picked a relatively tame one (I've never seen it, but it sounds less disturbing than the usual fare).
posted by Think_Long at 8:24 AM on July 14, 2010


Yeah, you're right – it's a lot less disturbing than most of his movies. Not quite as quiet and non-disturbing as Bird People in China, though – which incidentally is my absolute favorite Takashi Miike film. A gorgeous, witty movie, that; I highly recommend it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:47 AM on July 14, 2010


re: the copyright issues, the following is now in the comments section of the first link:
I’m told (by official sources) that Film Annex and Criterion are in touch, and if there are any issues, they’re talking them over. Stay tuned.
posted by juv3nal at 11:05 AM on July 14, 2010


Yes, the Criterion people got back to me and said they're taking care of it. I guess we'll see.
posted by koeselitz at 12:11 PM on July 14, 2010


In the end, while Solaris is almost certainly Tarkovsky's most popular movie (mostly because people will watch anything with a sci-fi element) I think it's also probably his worst.

That's good to hear, and thanks for the thoughtful recommendations. As I mentioned above, I didn't let the "eh" experience of Solaris stop me from Netflixing and enjoying the hell out of Ivan's Child (on the useful theory that a director's early work is the best place to start), or from dropping Andrei Rublev, which came next, into my queue. I'll bump it up a few notches.

Now you'll have to excuse me while I clean the living room and settle in for the apparently terribly bleak, abstract and gorgeously slow Red Desert, which the nice folks at Criterion just re-released so we can take it off the "Why the FUCK isn't this movie easily available on DVD?" list.
posted by mediareport at 3:03 PM on July 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


AV Club is now posting the link.
posted by Think_Long at 8:50 AM on July 15, 2010


The selected movie does not exist

Ammm.....
posted by c13 at 7:26 PM on July 15, 2010


Now you'll have to excuse me while I clean the living room and settle in for the apparently terribly bleak, abstract and gorgeously slow Red Desert, which the nice folks at Criterion just re-released so we can take it off the "Why the FUCK isn't this movie easily available on DVD?" list.

Lucky you. I'd cue up L'avventura directly afterwards as a slightly less bleak, but gorgeous and sensual balm.

(NB: I learned more about poetry and metaphorical language from the DVD commentary from L'avventura than I did from college...)

Monica Vitti...Monica Vitti....GrRrRRRR....Monica mothereffin' Vitti...

*Stares dreamily into space*

posted by Skygazer at 8:54 PM on July 15, 2010


I once went on a blind date with a dude who decided to take me to In The Realm of the Senses, a 1974 Japanese film about Sada Abe. The film not only includes scenes of real sex, but ends with the woman strangling her lover to death during sex, then chopping his penis and testicles off with a knife and carrying 'em around Tokyo in a handbag as a keepsake. A blind date. Beat that, people.
posted by hot soup girl at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I once went on a blind date with a dude who decided to take me to In The Realm of the Senses, a 1974 Japanese film about Sada Abe. The film not only includes scenes of real sex, but ends with the woman strangling her lover to death during sex, then chopping his penis and testicles off with a knife and carrying 'em around Tokyo in a handbag as a keepsake. A blind date. Beat that, people.

I've seen that movie. That sounds like the most uncomfortable blind date of all time.

"Walk me home? Uh.... no thanks!" *runs screaming into the night*
posted by zarq at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


once went on a blind date with a dude who decided to take me to In The Realm of the Senses, a 1974 Japanese film about Sada Abe. The film not only includes scenes of real sex, but ends with the woman strangling her lover to death during sex, then chopping his penis and testicles off with a knife and carrying 'em around Tokyo in a handbag as a keepsake. A blind date. Beat that, people.

Yeah, I mean where do you go with a relationship after that? Talk about setting up a bad precedent...

Gulp.
posted by Skygazer at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2010


The movies - they are dead.
posted by Think_Long at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2010


Available on DVD from Criterion.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on July 16, 2010


Just for the record, Red Desert is definitely worth renting - gorgeous colors, stunning compositions that made me pause the dvd again and again just to stare at them, captivating electronic/noise/collage elements in the soundtrack, and beautiful shots of industrial decay and gloomy, poisonous wastelands. But, you know, it's Antonioni, so the human element is sometimes stretched sooo thin it can be hard to maintain interest in what the alienated and/or highly neurotic characters were doing to themselves, even when what they're doing to themselves is almost having an orgy. At other times, I should add, the interactions have real poignancy - the subplot with Monica Vitti and her son, e.g.

I went back and watched the more challenging bits with the commentary on, which I highly recommend; the analysis is sharp and not overly fawning, pointing out the story elements Antonioni just plain drops and talking clearly about the various conflicting critical interpretations of certain scenes and themes. It's always nice to have confirmed some of the, um, flaws you notice in "classic" art films.

Btw, if (like me) you get fooled by the theme of industrial bleakness into thinking that Red Desert is some kind of Antonioni environmental statement, be sure to watch the 1964 interview in the extras. Not only does he make it clear he's a fan of industrial progress, he also talks rather happily about spray-painting a forest to make it the right color, then abandoning the shoot when the weather wasn't quite right. Still, there's something powerfully critical about the way he presents alienated characters in a gorgeously inhuman technological landscape. In some ways, what he says he intended becomes irrelevant.

Overall, thumbs up to Criterion. Great presentation of a long-lost classic.
posted by mediareport at 9:30 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


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