14 December 2016

Stalker

Stalker 1979
  • Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Based on novel Picnic Roadside by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  • Cast: Aleksandr Kaydanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsin, Nikolay Grinko, Alisa Freyndlikh
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Anatoly Solonitsin – Solaris
    • Nikolay Grinko – Solaris
  • Why? A classic
  • Seen:  Once before. Now 11 December 2016 with Hal and YW in our read-book-see-film group

             The book was a surprise. Slangy, 50’s western kitsch, only mildly interesting, mainly because of the impact it probably had when it came out in the 70’s. Aliens come to Earth then just leave, ignoring us completely. How insulting!
       In the film, it’s not even certain that the Zone was created by aliens, could just be a meteorite.  Not a good change, why did Tarkovsky do that?
       The Stalker’s wife is in despair because he’s going back into the Zone despite his promises not to. it’s illegal. He could get ten years in prison. The Author and the Professor have hired him to guide them in. They make their way through mud and run-down buildings. A town in ruins. Guards shoot at them as they enter the Zone.
       It goes on and on and on, slowly! They talk a lot but it’s almost impossible to know which one of them is speaking. Gradually we get a little of the background and the legends about the Zone.
       It’s all very mystical and atmospheric and symbolic (I suppose). There’s a room where everyone finds happiness, their deepest wish comes true. The Stalker warns them to be careful but they don’t listen.
       When I saw this the first time I was probably willing to be impressed by the mysterious and philosophical, and the Great Tarkovsky. Now, frankly, I don’t have the patience for a film that starts with a complaining hysterical wife and continues for three hours with three middle-aged men wandering about uttering supposed profundities in search of some meaning.
       It’s interesting at times but more often it’s annoyingly superficial, babbly, querulous and quasi-religious.
       We agree. The book was better. And we didn’t much like the book.

1 ½ * of 5


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