The Poetry of Apocalypse: The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky


Andrei TarkovskyUSSR163 minutes1979PGColourB&WRussian

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View Stalker during the Robert Bird on Stalker event.


Recently restored, Stalker is now more than ever "a cultural event.... No one interested in world cinema ... should miss it" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice). Three men — the Writer, the Professor, and the Stalker — travel from a post-apocalyptic landscape into "The Zone," an area which the government declared off limits after a mysterious extraterrestrial event rendered it supposedly uninhabitable. Guided by the severe, shaven Stalker, the men navigate across a treacherous landscape of shifting, invisible "traps," industrial debris, and subterranean passages to the threshold of the mysterious, wish-fulfilling "Room" at the Zone's centre, which reveals and perhaps materializes one's deepest desires. Tarkovsky rarely achieved such an intense rendering of spiritual quest: the Christ imagery and intimations of Dante, the voluptuous sense of ruin, decay, and imminent catastrophe, the painterly references to Bosch, Rembrandt, and Flemish art, and the temps morts of dripping water, billowing fog, and slow wind all combine to make the film one of his most beautiful and mesmerizing. "As necessary to the cinema as Mozart to music" (Gavin Millar, The Listener).