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Daily Briefing. "Zona": Geoff Dyer on Tarkovsky's "Stalker"

Also: Incite Journal of Experimental Media, David C Stone, the International Documentary Association nominees and more.

"Geoff Dyer's forthcoming book Zona (2012) has a premise that is so simple and brilliant it seems almost a wonder that it hasn't been tried before," blogs Katie Kitamura for frieze. "[A]s the book's subtitle puts it, Zona is 'A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room.' In other words, a book about Andrei Tarkovsky's seminal Stalker (1979), itself loosely based on the novel Roadside Picnic (1971), by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. 'Loosely' is key here. The skeleton of Zona is something like a glorified transcript of Tarkovsky's film, a factual description of what is seen on the screen…. But Zona hangs a great deal onto the scaffolding of this formal conceit. The book itself is full of digressions, both filmic and personal, as well as footnotes, interpretations, imprecations and asides. There's a definite gulf between the tone of Zona and the tone of Stalker, which is almost certainly the point; if an auteur is characterized by the recognizable strength of a signature style, then Dyer is clearly an auteur, even when in the grips of a masterwork authored by another." Dyer wrote about Stalker for the Guardian back in 2009.

Issue 3 of Incite Journal of Experimental Media has been put together but needs a little help if it's going to get printed. In the meantime, the dossier on the 2010 International Experimental Media Congress is online.

At the BOMBlog, Colin Beckett talks with Peter von Bagh about Sodankylä Forever (2010), his four-part documentary on the Midnight Sun Film Festival: "Sodankylä is a privileged place because you can't do anything else [but watch films]. It's like a blank space and everybody understands that they're as important as the main guests in participating. The audience creates the shock — I couldn't really express that in the film. It's so unbearably moving for me. That is why people like Michael Powell and Jacques Demy said that it was the first time they liked their own films. I think very few places can compete with that kind of experience. It's especially difficult in big cities where there are any amount of other attractions. You come here and there is only cinema. You're trapped. The last moments of the festival are like in a Fellini film where there's a desert beach, and nothing else, or maybe a tent that's empty now. And then it's taken down, and there's nothing."

"In paying tribute to producer and transatlantic experimental-film impresario David C Stone, Anthology Film Archives honors the lifetime of new cinema that Stone, who died this past spring, championed," writes Nick Pinkerton in the Voice. "A cabbie's son and Brooklyn native, Stone had been managing songwriters when, moonlighting as a proofreader at organ-of-the-avant-garde Film Culture magazine, he became involved with filmmakers Adolfas and Jonas Mekas, the latter a seminal Voice critic and one of Anthology's founders." He talks with Barbara Stone, "partner in all of her husband's endeavors since their 1957 marriage," about the films they fought for and nurtured. More from the L's Mark Asch, who focuses on Robert Kramer's Ice (1969), produced by Stone and "set in a near-future America of state ID cards and a Mexican invasion, and concerns a rebellion led by a few interconnected cells of student radicals."

See it Big!, a series curated by Reverse Shot editors Michael Koresky and Jeff Reichert, opens tonight at the Museum of the Moving Image and runs through January 1.

"The International Documentary Association (IDA) announced its nominations for the 2011 IDA Documentary Awards Thursday, with five films, including Better This World, How to Die in Oregon, Nostalgia for the Light, The Redemption of General Butt Naked and The Tiniest Place (El Lugar Mas Pequeno) vying for the best feature category." Brian Brooks has the full list at indieWIRE.

In the works. Sean Penn will direct Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig in The Comedian (Deadline). Screenwriter Mark Heyman (Black Swan) tells the story of an online affair run amok in XOXO; Darren Aronofsky will produce (Vulture). Michael Winterbottom tells the Independent's Kaleem Aftab that he's been working on a script based on Amanda Knox case.

Viewing (2'39"). Trailer for Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol with Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Léa Seydoux, Josh Holloway, Tom Wilkinson, Michael Nyqvist and Anil Kapoor. Bill Desowitz talks with Bird at Thompson on Hollywood.

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