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Stalker (1979)

Original Title : Stalker
Director : Andrei Tarkovski
Writer : Arkadi Strugatsky
Boris Strugatsky
Arkadi Strugatsky
Boris Strugatsky
Andrei Tarkovsky
Genre : Mystery
Sci-Fi
Country : West Germany
Language : Russian
Producer : Aleksandra Demidova , Willie Geller
Music : Eduard Artemyev
Photography : Aleksandr Knyazhinsky
Georgi Rerberg
Distributor : Alta Films S.A.
IMDB ID : 0079944
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poster for "Stalker" by Andrei Tarkovski (1979)
Stalker (1979) - Andrei Tarkovski
 

Starring

Aleksandr Kajdanovsky Stalker
Alisa Frejndlikh Stalker's Wife
Anatoli Solonitsyn Writer
Nikolai Grinko Scientist
Natasha Abramova Martha, Stalker's daughter
Olegar Fedoro Stalker's double (as Oleg Fedorov
Ye. Kostin 
R. Rendi 
F. Yurma 
 

Plot

Near a gray and unnamed city is The Zone, an alien place guarded by barbed wire and soldiers. Over his wife's strenuous objections, a man rises in the dead of night: he's a stalker, one of a handful who have the mental gifts (and who risk imprisonment) to lead people into The Zone to The Room, a place where one's secret hopes come true. That night, he takes two people into The Zone: a popular writer who is burned out, cynical, and questioning his genius, and, a quiet scientist more concerned about his knapsack than the journey. In the deserted Zone, the approach to The Room must be indirect. As they draw near, the rules seem to change and the stalker faces a crisis.
 

Comments

Master's Failure, 22 March 2004 Author: Galina from Virginia, USA First of all I want to say that Tarkovsky is one of my favorite directors of all time. His Zerkalo and Andrey Rublyov are among the Best films ever made and I can not even say which one I consider better - they just go together in my mind as two masterpieces - heights of such light, purity and power that they can not be surpassed even by the Master himself. So, you can see, I am not afraid of Tarkovsky's complex poetic symbolism, his seemingly slow camera or the questions that he often leaves unanswered.With this said,I do not like Stalker and even more, I believe it was Tarakovsky's failure even though, the master's failure has got all signs of his greatness - stunning black and white cinematography, debates among the characters about meaning of life and nature of one's deepest desires, the journey into "the zone" to the magic room that is one of the finest dream -like pieces ever seen on the screen. But somewhere among all these fine pieces something very important is missing. Maybe the problem is with the main character of the film, the nameless Stalker who in a film is such a saintly, suffering, and I dare say pompous figure that I just can not care about him very much.***Spoilers for the book "Roadside Picnic"In the original book "Roadside Picnic" by Strugatsky Brothers on which the film is loosely based the stalker had a name, Roderick (Red) Schuhart. He was not a saint, he was a human being with a lot of weaknesses. Like a Stalker in the film, Red had inhuman intuition and luck that had helped him to survive the multiple trips to the Zone. But the Zone caught up with him in the end, and he was playing the ultimate price watching how his only child who was born as a beautiful and joyful girl was turning into the strange and mute animal. That was why Red decided to make the last trip to the Zone and find the legendary Golden Sphere (the Room in the film) that could grant any wish. Red knew he could not go alone because just when you thought that you reached the Sphere there was an ultimate trap that could only be fed by a human being. Such great and desperate was Red's desire to get his daughter back that he took with him an innocent young man, teenager really, perfectly knowing that that man will never return from the Zone. The Stalker of the film KNOWS what other people's deepest and hidden desires could be, in the book, Red found out that after he finally reached the Sphere, he did not know what and how to ask, his only hope was that the magic tool would reach inside his soul and find that his soul was still alive and bleeding from pain and begging for his daughter and for forgiveness. I found the last chapter of the book much more interesting, deeper, and tragic than all the debates among the characters and monologues of the Stalker and his wife in the film.***End for the book's spoilersTarkovsky took only the final chapter of the book and used it for the film. He himself along with the Strugatsky Brothers had rewritten the screenplay many times until he was satisfied with it. Before I started to write this post, I found the screenplay on line and read it just to refresh the film in my memory. I was surprised how short and dynamic the screenplay was. I do not understand how with a screenplay like that and with all its beauty the film turned to be remote, passionless, extremely long and (please forgive me all the fans) boring. I love every minute of 205 Andrey Rublyov's minutes and I would beg for more. I treasure every moment of 108-minutes long Zerkalo, and I have seen it five times. But Stalker, IMO, is the Master's weakest work. I would not mind if it was much shorter than its extremely difficult 169 minutes.
 
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Stalker (1979) - Andrei Tarkovski
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Stalker (1979) - Andrei Tarkovski
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