stalker

"My conscience wants vegetarianism to win over the world. And my subconscious is yearning for a piece of juicy meat. But what do I want?"  -writer, in stalker

 

i've watched andrei tarkovsy's stalker twice now and i am not sure i understand it entirely. i'm not even sure i understand it at all. and i'm not sure it's the kind of film one can understand in it's entirety without multiple viewings. the plot seems basic enough- a group of men journey to an off-limits part of the wilderness known as "the zone." the journey is fraught with some sort of unseen yet potentially terrifying peril and the reward is that the zone may grant one "the deepest, innermost" wishes.

the plot however, may be beside the point. the point, may very well be the ambiguous nature of the journey. the imminent danger which seems to lurk behind every corner may not even be real. you get the sense that it could be a cerebral exercise for these characters.

this ambiguity is mirrored in the visual style of the film. there is a distinct transition from the rural local to the actual zone which goes from black and white to color. the images reveal and obscure the landscape. fog, reflections, frames within frames, darkness and light all contribute to this idea that while we are going somewhere and something is happening, the end result and the true meaning behind the journey cannot quite be pinned down. if you're into atmospheric, meditative and subtle sci fi flicks, see it.

 

stills from andrei tarkovsy's stalker, 1979