1⃣ STALKER(1979) - EXPLAINED - Analysis & Interpretation. - Bodhisattya Pal.
STALKER(1979) - ANDREI TARKOVSKY
Tarkovsky, one of the greatest filmmakers of Russia, loved to stay neutral & give audience an open ending cinema. His works are complex, tangled yet poetic, lyrical, spiritual and metaphysical.
Stalker - the so called sci-fi drama is a slow paced poetry full of metaphors which is both weird and stunning, art at its best. Both time & patience is needed to understand this deep work of art. But as they said that you have to first feel a film, before understanding. It's really just beyond understanding, it's an otherworldly experience, you have to live it.
So no individual interpretation matters here. You should experience this monumental work yourself and explain as you like. That's why Tarkovsky made it like that. As he used to say -
"A book read by a thousand different people is a thousand different books."
Still, I tried to interpret it in my own way. You could have absolutely different thinking, you should! And there lies it's legacy. So experience the film & then proceed further to check if we have any similarities of thoughts. Discussions are always thrilling!
🎨COLORS & HUES: Tarkovsky shoot 'The Zone' in vivid greenish colour but rest of the film in sepia. It was like our dreams. The real world seems to be full of despair but our fantasies are always colorful. Also, this serious contrast indicate that in the zone, there was no human to pollute the air, so it stayed colorful & full of green.
🍃A JOURNEY: As they said, journey is more beautiful than the destination.. 'Stalker' is a story of a journey. In the zone there was river, tunnel, desert, greenery. The revelation of human mind, intention & moral through a journey, where outcome doesn't matter.
🏳HUMANITY: Tarkovsky is famous for humanist theme in his film. We could see three characters; the professor - representing the logical part of human, the writer - representing the artistic & intellect part, and that mysterious stalker - the perplexed mind. They wanted to fulfill their wish, they wanted to reveal the truth. But both the logic & intellect failed to believe in miracle, they failed to enter in 'the room' (a mysterious room which can fulfill one's innermost wish). The doubted if there was any darkest of wish hiding in them. Through lots of philosophical talk, Tarkovsky unfolded the complexity of human mind, the depth of human desire but the lack of believe.
🛐FAITH & HOPE: It was absolutely the central theme of this movie. To experience a miracle, you have to first believe it. We can see lack of believe lead the writer & professor to a unsuccessful journey. But the stalker has plethora of faith & respect in 'The zone' & 'The room'. At last he laments - "they are born to some purpose! That
they 'have a calling'! For they live 'only once'! How can such ones believe in anything?............ And nobody believes. Not only those two. Nobody! Whom should I lead in there? Oh, God... And the most
terrifying thing is ... that nobody needs it anymore. And nobody needs that Room. And all my efforts are worthless!"
Also there was acts of hope. The stalker's wife said, "It’s just such a fate, such a life, such us. And if there was no grief in our life,
it would not be better, it would be worse. Because then there would be ... neither happiness, nor hope. That’s it."
✝SPIRITUALITY & RELIGIOUS RELEVANCE: In the film, the stalker was almost like a priest who was leading people to the Supreme & telling them to keep faith in God. In several scene the spiritual nature of the film is evident. From the picture of Jesus under water to those Christian cross like electric post - all are pointing same, as the believing in God is fading in front of technology & intellect!
🏴UNPREDICTABILITY: Surely there is not much turn & twist, it's an intense art house film, so it's unlikely. But it still so much unpredictable. You would always keep expecting something coming. A chilling mood was always intact. When you are expecting something fast, it's really slow then, and when you are ready for some slow moment, it's lighten fast there. Also it's genre is sci-fi, but don't expect any thing like typical sci-fi movies. There is no mind blowing concept, no hybrid technology & no extraterrestrial engagement. But still it's among the most significant sci-fi movies, you will understand after experiencing it.
🥛THE ENDING: 'Stalker' have an absolute bizarre ending scene where the abnormal child of stalker practicing 'telekinesis' with three glasses on table. It may be just because of the trains, as we saw in very first scene if the movie. But probably it's a deep metaphor indicating that what science & intellect can't do, believe alone can. And this is the most vital theme of this work of art.
🃏TRICKERY: Now, at last, think what if 'The Zone' was nothing but a creation of the stalker himself, everything related to zone was only his fantasies & he did it because he wanted a place where everyone will obey him & he will be only one to know the place, kind of emperor! There were no fifth man to justify anything. Think about that dog. Where did it come from? Was it stalker's pet? In the last part the dog was behaving as stalker & his wife are familiar to him. Not impossible. That's why it's a masterpiece!
⚜LEGACY: There's a horrific side of the coin. The shooting place was a abandoned nuclear factory, so the lethal radiation summoned cancer in Tarkovsky & some other crew members, which ultimately lead to death. The film was shoot under extreme conditions. But the exceptional point was it predicted the sinister Chernobyl disaster 6 years before, astonishing! And now 'Stalker' is regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi art film.
✴️Let me know your personal thoughts about the masterpiece. Thank you.