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UK: Contemporary Films / NFT
Cast: Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Alisa Freindlikh, Natasha Abramova, F Yurma, E Kostin, R Rendi
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Language: Russian (English subtitles)
USA: 161 mines
UK Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 11 March 2005 (Limited re-release - London)
This is Andrei Tarkovsky's cerebral masterpiece on faith, finality, time and space. The stalker guides two intellectuals through a post-apocalyptic landscape...
A shaven-headed guide known as Stalker conducts three very different pilgrims into a mysterious landscape fraught with dangers and known as the Zone, at the far end of which there is a Room awaiting them. Access to this will grant them their deepest hidden wishes.
More than any of Tarkovsky's other films, STALKER announces itself as a parable - a movie that can be fully enjoyed only once you decipher its meaning. Behind the fable certain important human themes can indeed be discerned: above all the longing for freedom that afflicted sensitive spirits caught up in the Communist system, along with the associated idea that such freedom, once granted or seized, may turn out to be hollow or illusory.
But this is a Tarkovsky film, so the meaning is never quite 'simple'. He wants to take us on the journey with him, and subject us to its tormenting perplexities; the plot, as such, shouldn't be clear, or it isn't really working. What the audience can respond to without difficulty (especially in this beautiful new print) is the extraordinary physical landscape, the passion of the actors, and the hypnotic feeling that we are caught up in some dark, noble melodrama.