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Tarkovsky lover Geoff Dyer discusses the visual and sonic elements of one of the most haunting sequences in Stalker . Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

Tarkovsky lover Geoff Dyer discusses the visual and sonic elements of one of the most haunting sequences in Stalker . Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

Чужой (1979)
# 52 on IMDb Top Rated Movies »

Michelle Williams »
# 62 on STARmeter

A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.

Tonight, I finally got a chance to see Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker in a theater, rather than merely on my computer. I first watched the film back in college—it was, I think, the film that sparked my serious interest in film as an artistic medium—and find that now, seven or eight years later, my perspective on it has substantially changed, though my love for it hasn’t.

On previous viewings, I identified most with the Stalker, even though, as an atheist, my beliefs aligned most with the Writer (at least, the beliefs he expressed in his early laments about the boringness of natural law and of triangles). And I took this to be the attitude of the film: its commentary on society is expressed fairly directly through the Stalker. Even now, I think it is probably true that Tarkovsky himself finds his views most reflected in those of the Stalker. On this viewing, however, I came to see more critique of the Stalker within the film.

The first indication that the Stalker is not above reproach is the film’s opening scene, in which he is shown reducing his wife to tears, to the point where she ends up writhing on the floor. There is a basic disconnect, a basic selfishness that is revealed here. My younger self was inclined to forgive it because I saw the private importance, to the Stalker, of his trips to the Zone (the source of his wife’s grief). Today, while I may still forgive it, though less thoroughly than before, I am more struck by the Stalker’s inability to connect with another human being, an inability that carries throughout the film.

Tarkovsky lover Geoff Dyer discusses the visual and sonic elements of one of the most haunting sequences in Stalker . Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

Чужой (1979)
# 52 on IMDb Top Rated Movies »

Michelle Williams »
# 62 on STARmeter

A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.

Tonight, I finally got a chance to see Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker in a theater, rather than merely on my computer. I first watched the film back in college—it was, I think, the film that sparked my serious interest in film as an artistic medium—and find that now, seven or eight years later, my perspective on it has substantially changed, though my love for it hasn’t.

On previous viewings, I identified most with the Stalker, even though, as an atheist, my beliefs aligned most with the Writer (at least, the beliefs he expressed in his early laments about the boringness of natural law and of triangles). And I took this to be the attitude of the film: its commentary on society is expressed fairly directly through the Stalker. Even now, I think it is probably true that Tarkovsky himself finds his views most reflected in those of the Stalker. On this viewing, however, I came to see more critique of the Stalker within the film.

The first indication that the Stalker is not above reproach is the film’s opening scene, in which he is shown reducing his wife to tears, to the point where she ends up writhing on the floor. There is a basic disconnect, a basic selfishness that is revealed here. My younger self was inclined to forgive it because I saw the private importance, to the Stalker, of his trips to the Zone (the source of his wife’s grief). Today, while I may still forgive it, though less thoroughly than before, I am more struck by the Stalker’s inability to connect with another human being, an inability that carries throughout the film.

Some directors seem made for critical fodder. Hitchcock, Welles, Ford, Kurosawa, and others in the cinematic pantheon have inspired an academic avalanche, a cottage industry in analysis and interpretation.

Andrei Tarkovsky is not an exception – like Eisenstein, he has become an icon of Russian filmmaking. And like many another object of veneration, he and his works have generated an intimidatingly swollen stream of ecclesiastical interpretation. In all fairness, Tarkovsky started it. Possessed of a highly developed sense of self, he wrote and spoke of his work voluminously, in complex and sometimes impenetrable terms.

Of course, iconoclasts sprang up as well. G. C. Macnab delivers a succinct chop block to the oeuvre: “Too opaque to yield concrete meaning, it offers itself as a sacral art, demanding a rapt, and even religious, response from its audiences” (1) . The adjectives “ponderous”, “portentous”, and “saturnine” litter his summation of Tarkovsky’s career. As always, today’s revolutionaries are the old farts of tomorrow.

Tarkovsky lover Geoff Dyer discusses the visual and sonic elements of one of the most haunting sequences in Stalker . Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

During a period of personal turmoil, Andrei Tarkovsky created this enigmatic masterpiece, which explores spiritual and metaphysical mysteries through the prism of a science-fiction epic. Read more »

Чужой (1979)
# 52 on IMDb Top Rated Movies »

Michelle Williams »
# 62 on STARmeter

A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane.


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