Monday, November 12, 2007


Stalker; Science-Fiction drama, Russia/ Germany, 1979; D: Andrei Tarkovsky, S: Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Nikolai Grinko, Alisa Frejndlikh, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Natasha Abramova

The poor Stalker, who spent 5 years in jail, wakes up in his bed and prepares to go to the mysterious Zone although his wife begs him to stay and take care of his daughter who can't walk. Stalker meets a writer and a scientist and, after a drink in a bar, goes together with them in a car and enters the forbidden Zone passing by a barb wire fence and military. They enter a nature full of colors and discuss about how a meteor supposedly crashed in the Zone 20 years ago and that it grants every wish. They sleep over on the grass and enter a strange tunnel, coming to a room full of sand and water, but then figure out the Zone can't grant wishes and return home. Stalker's wife starts moving glasses with her mind.

Andrei Tarkovsky directed his (pseudo) science-fiction drama "Stalker" in a similar way he did with his previous film "Solaris": without special effects and with long takes and a demanding, but sometimes boring tone. The plot concept about a Zone that supposedly grants every wish is practically identical with his concept and mysterious planet in "Solaris", showing how he still didn't exhaust every potential from that theme, but with difference that here absolutely no wish is granted which poses some interesting questions about false ideals and a search for a fulfilled life, but also if the three main protagonists have a clear mind. The story at the beginning is filmed in black and white, but when the protagonists enter the Zone full of nature, vibrant colors emerge as a fascinating contrast, which accumulates many symbols, from sceptics questioning the world up to maybe even political ones, how people are running away from Communism to find savor in idealised Capitalism. "Stalker" has a masterful composition of shots, but except for a disappointing and unimaginative end, in which the girl gains telekinetic powers (?), the movie also bothers with rather stiff characters, vague philosophical babble ("Without problems, our lives would be worse because we wouldn't be happy") and a confusing tone.


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