Name of Film: Stalker
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Origin and Release Year: Russia (1979)
Starring or score: 4/10
Stalker is a sci-fi film, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and released in 1979. The stars of the film include Alisa Freyndlikh, Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, and Anatoliy Solonitsyn.
It is a film where Tarkovsky’s love for shaping the perception of time to the viewer shines through. However, the film fails to do so for the modern audience. A series of confusing stylistic choices and motifs leave the modern audience feeling unsettled.
Guided by a man called ‘the Stalker,’ two men (a writer and professor) wander into the forbidden Zone in search of writing inspiration and scientific discoveries. The Zone is an area supposedly inhabited by aliens, where wishes are granted.
The film’s theme surrounds the search for something through a journey. It comments on the fact that the journey may not always give one what they are expecting. That instead of granting direct wishes and desires, The Zone would provide something the character is unaware they need. A similar theme to that of real life.
This was the only relatable element of the film. Purely because the film does not follow conventions that a modern audience may be used to nor can be linked to a common reference.
The film also boasts good cinematography but that, unfortunately, does not distract from the confusing stylistic choices and motifs. The most noticeable is that of the editing. Stalker hosts many long cuts and agonizingly slow shots, as well as seemingly unmotivated camera movements that leave the viewer struggling to find the meaning in the camera shift.
The performance from the lead actors also lends itself to criticism when their actions become comical in a film that doesn’t likely intend to be a comedy. There are lots of clumsy actions like characters tripping over nothing and even the way their car drives.
This film was a push for me. The number of inconsistencies and clashing stylistic choices only added to the confusion of the plot itself. This is a film that was probably good in its prime, but not for the modern viewer.
Have you seen Stalker? What did you think?