Stalker (1979)

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I'm surprised, for all the press that Tarkovsky gets on this forum that there is no thread devoted to Stalker. So I'll start one.

I'm sure there's many people here who have more to say about this film than I do - and I hope they do, because it's due to this forum that I watched this film today.

It would be easy to sit down and start composing a scholarly essay on Stalker and its various themes and possible interpretations. Like classic Russian literature, the film does not shy away from the large existential quandaries like hope, faith, belief and desire.

The film's stalker takes two men on an archetypal journey to a mysterious zone. But more importantly it is a journey in which they can discover (or rediscover) their essence. There are many pitfalls along the way in which they are given the chance to peel away the layers of cynicism, ambition, greed, fear - all the human traits that harden around us like shells.

Will these characters be able to take the leap of faith into the zone? Even more enthralling, Tarkovsky, through his magnificently sensitive directing - full of long gaps of silence, frames partially hidden by doorways and walls, wonderfully textured tones and incredibly slow camera movements - allows all the space in the world for us as viewers to accompany the characters on their journey and to contemplate: Would we, or are we, able to let go enough to take that leap of faith? Is it even necessary? Is such contemplation mere illusion?

9.9/10



Who's going to believe a talking head?
I find it chilling that the film foretold the Chernobyl disaster 7 years later. The desolate landscape that the characters traverse looks so alien and unsettling, while they begin their metaphysical journey questioning science, art and faith. Masterpiece.

"A man writes because he is tormented, because he doubts. He needs to constantly prove to himself and the others that he's worth something. And if I know for sure that I'm a genius? Why write then? What the hell for?"



I find it chilling that the film foretold the Chernobyl disaster 7 years later. The desolate landscape that the characters traverse looks so alien and unsettling, while they begin their metaphysical journey questioning science, art and faith. Masterpiece.
Yes, I too couldn't help think of Chernobyl while watching it.

And I just read that the actual location in the zone - especially the river/streams - was full of toxic waste and that exposure to it led to illnesses that caused the deaths of several crew members, including Tarkovsky himself; sobering if that is true.



Who's going to believe a talking head?
I also read that the original film stock of Stalker was destroyed, and so they had to reshoot the film again. I wonder what the original Stalker would look like.



My favorite movie from the 1970's and one of the very few movies that were powerful enough to make me unable to sleep after I watched it.

One thing Stalker has that other Tarkovsky's movies don't have are action sequences!



Who's going to believe a talking head?
One thing Stalker has that other Tarkovsky's movies don't have are action sequences!
Wrong. Andrei Rublev. Ivan's Childhood.



My favorite movie from the 1970's and one of the very few movies that were powerful enough to make me unable to sleep after I watched it.

One thing Stalker has that other Tarkovsky's movies don't have are action sequences!
Re: Being unable to sleep. When I watched Blair Witch Project it took me a while to fall asleep that night. And I couldn't help thinking that Myrick and Sanchez must have been influenced by Stalker - in both films the 'unseen' is a huge unsettling force.



Perhaps. But the unable to sleep thing is not due to horror/fear but something else which I don't know the exact words for. Transfixed, maybe.



Perhaps. But the unable to sleep thing is not due to horror/fear but something else which I don't know the exact words for. Transfixed, maybe.
I realized that might have been a non-sequitur...I wasn't implying that that was the cause of your sleeplessness; more just associating sleeplessness with the impression I mentioned of Blair Witch Project (I haven't watched that many horror movies, and that's partly why).

Stalker definitely gave me a big buzz, an excitement, a desire to share ....a truly inspiring film.



I rewatched it few days ago and liked it even more.I like the fact that the film is not very difficult yet you can't get it all on the single watch.

Now I kind of noticed that this film reminds me of Apocalypse Now.Both show a long journey,characters evolve during their journey,both films are talking about what will happen when the destination will be reached and both films end quite surprisingly.Of course,the source material,the characters and the whole presentation is different.It is quite interesting that both films were released in the same year.

I also love all the scenes when the black dog appears,I don't even know why.

The only thing which bothers me is the woman who plays Stalker's wife.I understand what kind of character she is supposed to be but I think the performance could have been better.



Now I kind of noticed that this film reminds me of Apocalypse Now.Both show a long journey,characters evolve during their journey,both films are talking about what will happen when the destination will be reached and both films end quite surprisingly.Of course,the source material,the characters and the whole presentation is different.It is quite interesting that both films were released in the same year.
Pretty much, Stalker is like an even darker and more Russian version of Apocalypse Now.



Now I kind of noticed that this film reminds me of Apocalypse Now.Both show a long journey,characters evolve during their journey,both films are talking about what will happen when the destination will be reached and both films end quite surprisingly.Of course,the source material,the characters and the whole presentation is different.It is quite interesting that both films were released in the same year.
Yes, it is a classic journey-is-the-destination device.

I know that this might seem like another facile comparison (in addition to my Blair Witch Project one), but in the first half of the three men's journey in the zone, I kept thinking of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In both films underlying character flaws/motives are revealed as the Stalker/Willy guide the central players through the various hurdles required to reach their goal.