Kasa Cotugno's Reviews > Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room

Zona by Geoff Dyer
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's review
Jan 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: location-europe-britain-scotland, arc, genre-biography-memoir, location-asia-russia, subject-show-biz
Read in January, 2012

It is hard to quantify this book as it doesn't fall into any established category. It is a dissection of a favorite film that digresses into personal detail so that the reader finds himself learning more about Geoff Dyer than about Tarkovsky or The Stalker. It wasn't love at first sighting, but Dyer found the film remained in his head, causing him to seek it out whenever it was showing and looking it up when visiting New York or London in this hopes it was on a screen somewhere. A purist, Dyer is a man of definite tastes (he will not allow the likes of, say Russell Brank into his house), and although he owns a dvd of The Stalker, has yet to watch it on the telly. I appreciate this sensibility -- I also won't watch certain films at home -- the theatrical experience cannot be duplicated. He admits to over stretching the analysis, as the film could e summarized in a few sentences. But his digressions, mostly in footnotes that comprise almost half the book's length, are by turns revelatory and hilarious. He referencers other works of supposed classic status, and is refreshingly unpretentious For example he has little tolerance for what I call Nouvelle Vague. The fact that Tarkovsky met Michaelangelo Antonioni is significant since some of the scenes described resemble key scenes from the latter's works. But Antonioni doesn't get off so easy -- Dyer remarks on his seemingly endless boredom at L'Aventura. Although he doesn't mention him, this reminded me of Bela Tarr's eight hour epic Satantango, which had takes so long they lasted for entire reels. I found the book enjoyable even though I hadn't seen this particular Tarkovsky film. I have seen 3 others which are referenced ad which Dyer had little patience for. Having read this book, I don't think I'll go out and seek this movie out any time soon -- despite Dyer''s reverence. Or maybe because of it.
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