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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

( aka 'Stalker' or 'Сталкер' )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/tarkovsky.htm

USSR 1979

"The first screenplay of Stalker was closer to the novel and the film had a curious history. Half of it was already shot in fact when the exposed film was destroyed in the "Mosfilm" lab. Nobody would have allowed me to shot the film again had it not been the fault of a "Mosfilm" technician. One cannot repeat the same thing for the second time, that would have been beyond my stamina. Thus together with the authors we returned to our work on the screenplay...

In this case some kind of law of equilibrium must have been at work, perhaps the "Mosfilm" disaster was not accidental. It was as if fate intervened in the sense the accident occurred precisely at the instant the film could have become insufficiently deep."

Andrei Tarkovsky on Stalker (taken from Nostalghia.com)

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 1979 - Moscow Film Festival

Reviews                                                   More Reviews                                                  DVD Reviews                                                Nostalghia.com

 

 Comparison:

MK2 - Region 0 - PAL vs. Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC vs. Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 1 DVD vs. Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 2 - PALvs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray

Thanks to Pavel Borodin for the AE and Spectrum DVD screen Captures!

 

1) MK2 - Region 0 - PAL TOP LEFT

2) Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC - TOP SECOND

3) Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 0 DVD TOP THIRD

4) Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 0 - PAL TOP RIGHT

5) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP LEFT

6) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

  

 

Distribution MK2 (France)
Region 0 - PAL

Spectrum Entertainment

Region 3 - NTSC ( Korea )

Image Entertainment/ RuCiCo

Region 0 - NTSC ( North America )

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL

 

Also available in the UK on Blu-ray from Criterion, one week later:

Artificial Eye (UK)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion

Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray Spine #888

MK2 (France)
Region 0 - PAL

Spectrum Entertainment

Region 3 - NTSC

Image Entertainment/ RuCiCo

Region 0 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL

Artificial Eye (UK)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Criterion

Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray Spine #888

Runtime 1:32:09 + 1:02:42 = 2:34:51 (4% PAL speedup) 1:32:03 + 1:02:38 = 2:34:41 (not transferred to NTSC first) 1:32:09 + 1:02:31 = 2:34:40 (not transferred to NTSC first) 1:32:09 + 1:02:42 = 2:34:51 (4% PAL speedup) 2:41:32.750 2:41:53.745
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.83+7.8 mb/s = avg 7.32 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
4:3  Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
4:3  Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.83+7.8 mb/s = avg 7.32 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,243,835,279 bytes

Feature: 34,891,511,808 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.74 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,114,251,764 bytes

Feature: 41,446,649,856 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 30.26 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

MK2 d1

 

Bitrate:

MK2 d1

 

Bitrate:

Spectrum d1

 

Bitrate:

Spectrum d2

 

Bitrate:

Image d1

 

Bitrate:

Image d2

 

Bitrate:

 

AE d1

 

Bitrate:

 

AE d2

 

Bitrate:

 

AE Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Audio Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Russian (Dolby Digital 1.0 - Mono)   Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1) Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Russian (Dolby Digital 1.0 - Mono)  

Russian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Russian (Dolby Digital 1.0 - Mono)  

LPCM Audio Russian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit LPCM Audio Russian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, and none Korean, Russian, English and none Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, and none Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, and none English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MK2

DVD Animated Menu's available in Russian, French and English

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• Interviews with Cinematographer Aleksandr Knyazhinsky ( 5:42 ) and Production Designer R. Safiullin (14:12 )
• Excerpts from "The Steamroller and the Violin," Tarkovsky's Diploma Film ( 4:58 )
• "Memory," a Documentary about Tarkovsky's Home ( 5:34 )
• Stills Gallery ( 14 images )
• Filmography ( static screen )
• Number of discs: 2

 

DVD Release Date:  May 25th, 2005
Slim digipak with no sleeve
Chapters: Six in Part 1, Seven in Part 2 - total = 13 Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Spectrum Entertainment

Edition Details:
• Disk One: Andrei Tarkovsky Introduction, Director's Biography,; Short Film: "The Streamroller and Violon",; Invitation to Tarkovsky's House, Photo Gallery;

• Disk 2: Cast & Crews, Interviews with Crews; Camera Man; Production Designer

 

DVD Release Date:  October 15, 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: Six in Part 1, Seven in Part 2 - total = 13 Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

DVD Animated Menu's available in Russian, French and English

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• Interviews with Cinematographer Aleksandr Knyazhinsky ( 5:42 ) and Production Designer R. Safiullin (14:12)
• Excerpts from "The Steamroller and the Violin," Tarkovsky's Diploma Film (4:58)
• "Memory," a Documentary about Tarkovsky's Home ( 5:34 )
• Stills Gallery ( 14 images )
• Filmography ( static screen )
• Number of discs: 2

 

DVD Release Date:  October 15, 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: Six in Part 1, Seven in Part 2 - total = 13 Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

DVD Animated Menu's available in Russian, French and English

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• Interviews with Cinematographer Aleksandr Knyazhinsky ( 5:42 ) and Production Designer R. Safiullin (14:12 )
• Excerpts from "The Steamroller and the Violin," Tarkovsky's Diploma Film ( 4:58 )
• "Memory," a Documentary about Tarkovsky's Home ( 5:34 )
• Stills Gallery ( 14 images )
• Filmography ( static screen )
• Number of discs: 2

 

DVD Release Date:  April 22nd, 2002
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: Six in Part 1, Seven in Part 2 - total = 13 Chapters

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,243,835,279 bytes

Feature: 34,891,511,808 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.74 Mbps


Edition Details:
• Mary Wild Introduction (2:35)

• Film Psychoanalyst Mary Wild visual essay (14:17 - Part 5 - Stalker - Topography of the Unconscious)
•  Interview with cinematographer Aleksandr Knyazhinskiy (5:43)

• Interview with Set Designer Rashit Safiullin (14:32)

36 page booklet

 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 22nd, 2016
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,114,251,764 bytes

Feature: 41,446,649,856 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 30.26 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• New interview with Geoff Dyer, author of Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room (29:11)
• Interview from 2002 with cinematographer Alexander Knyazhinsky (5:54)
• Interview from 2002 with set designer Rashit Safiullin (14:24)
• Interview from 2002 with composer Eduard Artemyev (21:10)
• PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Le Fanu

Blu-ray Release Date: July 18th - 24th, 2017
Transparent
Blu-ray case

Chapter: 20

 

 

 

 

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray - June 17': This is being released in both the US and the UK (one week later.) The Criterion is advertised as a 'New 2K digital restoration'. The film looks so beautiful... it's the most dramatic comparison of the past few years. The detail is massively improved. The sepia remains but is yellow-ish. Skin tones cool and colors get richer and bolder. The Criterion 1080P is much brighter. There are always concerns that the original appearance of a film is adhered to in a digital restoration. In many cases no one can be positive - prints fade or are lost, filmmakers die (so true of Stalker) etc.. This is such a case. Criterion did go to great lengths to replicate the original appearance - of that I was made aware of their research and investigations many months ago. I can only add to the appearance of the matched screen captures below by telling you that Stalker has some of the most beautiful sequences in all of film and they look absolutely brilliant on Criterion's new Blu-ray. I've never seen this particular Tarkovsky film look so visually impressive. It was, definitely, the most impacting Stalker has ever had on me. I've watched the Criterion Blu-ray three times now and I was amazed in each viewing. In a word this, visually, is truly 'stunning'.

Criterion also advance upon the AE Blu-ray with the audio. They use a linear PCM mono track - at 24-bit (as opposed to 16-bit.) The resulting sounds of the film are richer, deeper and darker while remaining authentically flat. The, often eerie and haunting, score by Eduard Artemev certainly benefits adding another layer onto the atmosphere. The Criterion has optional English subtitles and the discs are coded respectively to their region ('A' in North America, 'B' in UK/Europe.)

For the supplements, Criterion add a new, 1/2 hour, interview with Geoff Dyer, author of Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room who discusses how his impatient first viewing of Stalker gave way to a decades-long love of the film. There are 3 interviews from 2000-2002; 22-minuts with composer Eduard Artemyev, a pioneer in the field of electronic music, he composed scores for three Andrei Tarkovsky films (Solaris and Mirror, in addition to Stalker) and here he recalls the process for composing for Stalker. Included is 6-minutes with cinematographer Alexander Knyazhinsky (also found on the AE Blu-ray). Knyazhinsky was the second cinematographer associated with Stalker. In this interview, the last he gave before his death in 1996, he recounts his arrival midway through the famously difficult production, and describes his working relationship with director Andrei Tarkovsky. Also available is 1/4 hour with set designer Rashit Safiullin who discusses working on Stalker. The package has a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Mark Le Fanu.

For many, myself included, this represents the Blu-ray release of the year to date. I am 'blown away' by this presentation. I only have the screener disc sat present but can't wait to have the complete package in my hands. Our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray - August 2016: Curzon / Artificial Eye provide another two-Blu-ray package for one of their new Tarkovsky film-to-1080P release - one disc for the feature a second for the extras. Stalker seems to be from a Films Sans Frontières source (who have released their own, English-friendly Blu-ray version HERE)

and it looks radically different from the DVDs (see the title captures below.) It looks quite soft and the print has speckles and small marks. General consensus is that the a/v quality is sub-par - and underachieving from people's hopes. A shame.

The audio too is rather scratchy and inferior. We can only hope for a better release down the road - hopefully Criterion!

***

ADDITION: MK2 (May 2005) - The MK2 is an exact duplicate of the AE/RusCiCo. It comes in a slim digipak without sleeve. At present this is the definitive edition - so buy the AE or the MK2 - whichever you find least expensive.

****

ADDITION: Spectrum (October 2004) - Not much to say, the Spectrum is NTSC and has the same problems as the Image Entertainment. It also has the same extras, but its big failing is only having the 5.1 audio and no option for the original mono. The Spectrum may have slightly better contrast than the Image Entertainment. It differs in that it offers Korean subtitles and some pretty cool appearing menus. In actuality they are not as nice as the animated RusCiCo ones.  Stick with the PAL edition. 

Comments:

I suppose it is appropriate and justified to get overly sensitive about the slight details of the work of such a great artist as Andrei Tarkovsky. It somehow relates to his own cinematic attention to minute detail - the painstaking way he created his visions.

The original 'Stalker' DVD released by RusCiCo (The Russian Cinema Council) had a remix of the original mono bumping it to a 5.1 surround  soundtrack. RusCiCo did not include the mono track in their original release. For many obvious reasons this was totally unacceptable to his fans and those concerned with the integrity of art.

This AE, Image and MK2 discs however, includes both tracks so that the listener can choose. I can state for myself that this difference makes it almost like two entirely different films. In piecing together the puzzle of a film of this nature, every minute detail is intricate to the expression. Tarkovsky and his legion of fans were certainly aware of this, but obviously RusCiCo were not.

Once familiar with the grandeur of this film, it becomes infinitely fascinating to flip back and forth on the fly between soundtracks. I am actually happy that the alternate remix soundtrack is included for my curiosity sake. It adds to the depth of this DVD.

 

The image quality of these DVDs is by no means perfect, but in my opinion it is very good and blows away my VHS copy. I love journeying through the extras. I was especially fond of the manner in which the short film, "Memory" on Disc 1 was developed. It is EXTREMELY "Stalker"- like in its camera and sound, moving between black + white and color images.

All three (MK2, AE and Image) issues are identical to the second Ruscico (with optional mono) release in every way apart from the DVD labels and box artwork (and two are PAL and the other unconverted NTSC). As mentioned the first Ruscico release should be avoided as it lacks the original mono soundtrack.

Looking at the times, once again the NTSC version has not been properly converted from its PAL source. The PAL editions are slightly sharper and less cropped and is the choice for best image. All other aspects of the discs are the same. 

 - Gary W. Tooze


(Spectrum -Region 3- NTSC LEFT vs. Image/AE/MK2 - RIGHT)

DVD Menus
are the exact same in the Image Entertainment, Artificial Eye and MK2 editions

 

Disc 1

Disc 1

Disc 2 Disc 2


From the 5:34 short film entitled "Memory" about Tarkovsky childhood home. An extra on Disc 1 of all four editions.

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Second Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MK2 - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC - SECOND

3) Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 0 DVD THIRD

4) Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 0 - PAL FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) MK2 - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC - SECOND

3) Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 0 DVD THIRD

4) Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 0 - PAL FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) MK2 - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC - SECOND

3) Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 0 DVD THIRD

4) Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 0 - PAL FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) MK2 - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC - SECOND

3) Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 0 DVD THIRD

4) Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 0 - PAL FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) MK2 - Region 0 - PAL TOP

2) Spectrum - Region 3- NTSC - SECOND

3) Image Entertainment/RusCiCo  Region 0 DVD THIRD

4) Artificial Eye/RusCiCo - Region 0 - PAL FOURTH

5) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Box Covers

 

  

 

Distribution MK2 (France)
Region 0 - PAL

Spectrum Entertainment

Region 3 - NTSC ( Korea )

Image Entertainment/ RuCiCo

Region 0 - NTSC ( North America )

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL

 

Also available in the UK on Blu-ray from Criterion, one week later:

Artificial Eye (UK)

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Criterion

Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray Spine #888




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...