“Stalker” is a science fiction film of 1979 directed by the Soviet directorAndrei Tarkovsky. The film is based on the 1972 science fiction novel Roadside Picnic by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
The plot follows a man named Stalker, who leads two men – a scientist and a writer – into a forbidden area known as “The Zone”. There is said to be a room in the Zone that grants wishes to those who enter it, but access is tightly controlled by the authorities.
The film is known for its stunning cinematography and slow, contemplative storytelling. Additionally, the film explores profound themes such as the nature of humanity, faith, religion and the meaning of life.
“Stalker” was widely acclaimed by critics, both at home and abroad, and became one of the most influential films in the history of Soviet cinema. It was also a major box office success in the Soviet Union, despite government restrictions on its distribution.
The film has inspired many other directors and artists, and is considered a classic of science fiction cinema and one of Tarkovsky’s masterpieces. If you are interested in contemplative science fiction and slow storytelling, ‘Stalker’ is definitely a must-see movie.
“Stalker” is the story of a man named Stalker, who leads two men – a scientist named Professor and a writer named Writer – into a forbidden area known as “The Zone”. There is said to be a room in the Zone that grants wishes to those who enter it, but access is tightly controlled by the authorities.
Stalker guides them through a series of dangerous and surreal places, helping them avoid dangers along the way. During the journey, Stalker talks about his work and life, also revealing his belief that the Zone has the power to change the people who enter it.
Arriving at the Zone, the three men face a series of trials and tribulations, discovering that the room they seek is hidden away in a secret and hard-to-reach location.
Here is a brief description of the main characters of “Stalker”:
Stalker: is the protagonist of the film, a man who guides his clients through the Zone. He is a mysterious and spiritual man who believes that the Zone can change the people who enter it.
Professor: he is one of Stalker’s clients, a scientist who wants to enter the room to find the answer to all the questions of the universe.
Writer: Stalker’s other client, a writer hoping to find inspiration for his next book in the Zone.
Stalker’s Wife: Although she does not appear physically in the film, Stalker’s wife is an important character in the protagonist’s life and is mentioned several times.
There are other minor characters as well, such as the military guarding the Zone and the workers trying to remove the dangerous machines from the area. However, the film mostly focuses on the dynamic between the Stalker, the Professor and the Writer.
“Stalker” was directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, one of the most outstanding directors in the history of Soviet cinema. The film was produced by Mosfilm, Russia’s largest film production company.
The production of the film was very troubled. Tarkovsky and the screenwriters worked extensively on the script and shot the film for over two years. Also, many of the scenes in the film were shot on location and in natural settings, which made production very difficult.
The film’s budget was relatively low by today’s standards, but it was considerable for the time. Despite this, the film ran into distribution problems in the Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities were not satisfied with the film’s content, which appeared to be a veiled criticism of the regime, and prevented its release for several years.
Despite the difficulties, “Stalker” has become one of the most influential films in the history of Soviet cinema and a classic of science fiction cinema. His stunning photography and slow, contemplative storytelling have inspired many other directors and artists.
Distribution and Reception
“Stalker” premiered at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation. However, the film was not released in the Soviet Union until 1986, due to concerns by Soviet authorities regarding the film’s political content.
Despite this, the film achieved great critical acclaim internationally. Many critics praised the film’s photography, contemplative storytelling, and its philosophical significance. The film was also the subject of heated discussions regarding its interpretation and the meaning of the Zone and the room.
Today “Stalker” is considered one of the masterpieces of Soviet cinema and one of the most influential films of all time. In 2017, it was selected for preservation in the US Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, recognized as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The style of “Stalker” is typical of director Andrei Tarkovsky, who is known for his slow, contemplative storytelling and his attention to symbolism and metaphysics.
The film features stunning cinematography, often using still shots and soft light to create a dreamlike and surreal atmosphere. The music by the Soviet composer Eduard Artemyev, who also worked with Tarkovsky in other films, underlines the film’s mysterious and eerie atmosphere.
The film’s narration is very slow and reflective, with little action or dialogue. Instead, the film focuses on the characters and their thoughts and emotions, and their experiences in the Zone. Tarkovsky uses symbolism and imagination to create a surreal and metaphysical world, where the Zone represents the unknown of the universe and the room represents ultimate knowledge.
The style of “Stalker” influenced many subsequent directors, both in Russia and abroad. His slow, contemplative storytelling, stunning cinematography, and attention to symbolism and metaphysics have become something of a Tarkovsky trademark and a point of reference for many other filmmakers.
Andrei Tarkovsky was one of the greatest directors in the history of Soviet cinema and one of the leading exponents of cinema world. Born in 1932 in Zavrazhye near Moscow, Tarkovsky was educated at VGIK, the foremost film school in the Soviet Union, where he studied with director and film theorist Mikhail Romm.
Tarkovsky’s first feature film Ivan’s Childhood (1962) won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film was followed by such other masterpieces as “Andrei Rublev” (1966), “Solaris” (1972) and “The Looking Glass” (1975), which became classics of world cinema.
Tarkovsky was known for his slow and contemplative style, his attention to symbolism and metaphysics, and his view of cinema as a spiritual art. His work has been influenced by Russian poetry, painting and music, and has often explored themes such as human nature, spirituality and the meaning of life.
“Stalker” is considered one of his most important films, and represents the culmination of his slow and reflective style. Tarkovsky worked extensively on the script for the film, and spent a lot of time shooting the film on natural locations, trying to capture the essence of the Zone and its symbology.
Tarkovsky died in 1986 in Paris of a brain tumor. Despite his short life, he left an indelible mark on the history of cinema, and his work continues to influence many filmmakers and artists today.