Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky

Unlike hefty amount of authors on whom it is relatively easy to debate rationally – meaning, empirically justifies – Tarkovsky is a cineast that does not bear many words, who is resisting all judgment, who demands a metaphor in order to explain the world in which he spiritually exists, that simply expects a certain spiritual, cognitive and even physical exertion from a viewer wanting to breach into structures of his movies, to sense their oneiric, dreamlike nature, finally to become intimate with them, to return to them and embrace them as something that is part of him or herself.

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When we speak of Stalker, we are talking about an authentic, bona-fide masterpiece that is only in principal leaning against its primordial source, science fiction of Strugatsky brothers, mainly drawing the framework of the story itself, its characters and specific relations whuch they develop, and even something of a scenery in which the movie takes place. Everything else, that is rationally subsumed under the term of additional structure and conceived in heart and mind of an extraordinary creator, is an outcome of a field work completed by Tarkovsky himself, the form which he disclosed, both spiritually and materially (as witnesses testify), not letting anyone get in his way, and that is apparent in almost every moment of his quest, in every single frame, in each cut, each sequence, that is in the movie as a whole, its atmosphere, questions and dilemmas with which it sweeps us – but not in a sense of rationally spreading them in front of us, rather in a sense of visualizing them immediately. Guided by this line of developing the basic atmosphere, exclusively hermetic, one must wonder what is, then, Stalker as a movie and what makes it so distinctive?

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Above all else, Stalker is a metaphoric tale of three people’s voyage into uncertainty of mysterious “Zone”, which holds the notion of happiness as something within reach, like a challenge, some sort of scripture about the voyage and its consequences. But with the very fact that movies introduces two of the most representative callings of our civilizations, a scientist and an artist, which, along with Stalker, infiltrate immense spaces of the world of whose existence they were not aware of, Tarkovsky adds another dimension of tractate. The dimension of a relationship between an artist and the world, as well as of relationships between individuals, thus forming a harsh perplexity that should legitimize relativize the breach into the mysterious Zone, the breach to the other side of given and existing, where everything is certain and within reach. At the last instance, things get upside-down again, because Tarkovsky is not at all interested in final solutions, or at least he is interested in them as in something motivationally included in movie’s flow as possible entirety.

Stalker is, beyond everything, auditive and visual attempt of breaching through the crust of our world’s big brain, personalized in some of its symbolic projections, an attempt to eventually open all of its synapses, the labyrinth that can be entered and exited, but is that even possible? Without imposing the answer, Tarkovsky immediately shifts his ambitions from the sphere of narrative to the sphere of visual transposition, used by fable itself as a relatively tranquil guidepost by utilizing miraculous possibilities given by scenography alone, and whose complex symbolic properties are used by Tarkovsky as points of reference of understanding the problematics. Thus structured, Stalker is a movie in whom the material, sensory symbols occupy significant, even decisive place, in which humidity, rot, stench and certain state of decay are found in every place and on every step of the way, and most directly in the moments when Tarkovsky leads his characters to the room containing human happiness, seemingly within reach.

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But is possible to reach it nonetheless, and is it possible to go across its threshold at all if we have remained what we used to be, what we cannot break free from, in case our dependancy for breaching into forbidden zones of ourselves is nothing but a momentary caprice, as a border that we are not able to transgress neither spiritually nor materially? And, anyway, isn’t this possibility eerily alike any ideology in existence, anything preached from the platforms of our world and everything it represents or, at least us living in it think it represents?

Terrible as a nightmare, dilemma of which we speak inter-tangles itself with human gestures and reactions only to, after defeating the man in us, come back all over again into the original state in which we are something like humans, but not as much we imagine it to be, but rather in the amount of which we lost this human principle in us. Aware of the possibility, Tarkovsky ends the movie in a legitimate way, putting us into a space in which any of our individual attempts to transgress the boundaries of the world that explains us by the measure of its principles is impossible – and that may very well be a world with whom communicating would be a more beautiful and more real experience.

For P.U.L.S.E World: Boban Savković

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Tarkovsky:
“What is this main theme which should be clearly heard in the film? It’s the theme of human dignity and the theme of man suffering through the lack of his own dignity. What matters here is that when our heroes embark upon the journey their goal is to reach the place where innermost wishes come true. And during the journey they reminisce on either a true story or a legend about a man called “Porcupine”. They recall how he went to the magic place to ask for his son’s health. And he reached the place. But when he came back it turned out his son remained ill and he instead became extraordinarily wealthy. The Zone had fulfilled his true nature, his true wish.
And “Porcupine” hanged himself.

In the end the heroes reach their goal. But they arrive there after so many experiences and ruminations that they do not make the decision to enter it. They realised their morality was not perfect. And they do not find enough spiritual power yet to have faith in themselves.

This is what the situation seems until the last scene in which they are resting in the café after their expedition and Stalker’s wife appears, a weary woman who has seen a lot in her life. Her arrival forces the heroes to face something new, unexplained and astonishing. It is difficult for them to understand the reasons for which this woman, who suffered so much because of her husband, she gave birth to a sick child through his fault, still loves him with the same limitless generosity she felt for him in the days of her youth. Her love, her devotion — this is exactly the miracle with which one can counter the lack of faith, spiritual emptiness, cynicism — that is, all which the heroes of the film have lived until now.”

Posted by on 13. October 2014.. Filed under Andrei Tarkovsky,Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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