In a bleak post-industrial future, in an unnamed country, mysterious Zones have appeared which offer the fulfilment of all desire: to navigate the Zone, however, one risks life and sanity. A Professor and a Writer hire a Stalker to guide them through the Zone. The two intellectuals are seeking answers to their anguished search for meaning; the Stalker is seeking a cure for his daughter’s deformities for which he blames himself. By stripping the science- fiction genre of all its trappings of hardware and effects, Tarkovsky has created an ascetic masterwork of hypnotic imagery and meditative mise-en-scene. In “Stalker” we confront the mystery and agony of humankind’s spiritual isolation. Trapped within a decaying, materialistic world only the Stalker’s hoped for redemption through faith can counter the Professor’s and the Writer’s metaphysical pessimism. Made at a time when the director was engaged in a hostile battle of wills with the Soviet state, “Stalker” is an allegory of spiritual struggle, and it is a richly transcendental work of cinema. Based on the book “Roadside Picnic” by Arcady and Boris Strugatsky. NOTE: The prologue is in black and white.
How to watch
In ACMI's collection
Fantasy & Science Fiction → Science fiction films
Feature films → Feature films - Soviet Union
VHS; Access Print (Section 1)