10.29.2013 Stalker / There is No There There

IMG_4721 "There is no there there."  Gertrude Stein

Stalker directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, is a film he made in 1979.  During the filming, he died, due to the toxicity of the environment he was shooting in, though perhaps it was the Zone itself, encircling him, embracing him, punishing him for broadcasting its secrets.

To respond to a film like this is like asking someone to respond to the need to drink water to survive.  Do you like it is relatively meaningless, as I do not think it was after a certain "like-ability".  To view the film is to be with the film.  The film is about waiting, thick movement, long durations and extended shots.  The film thematically deals with the nature of existence and humanity.  What world do these people live in?  What is the Zone?  Who are these travelers?  We are given only archetypes, and the story follows as a parable of truth and need.  What is a Stalker?  What is the Stalker stalking?  The Stalker seeks - hunts - and risks death to find - truth.  He approaches his prey - but what is it that is in the Zone?  Who are the other Stalkers - is there a tribe of these individuals, tainted by the unknown matter that causes telekinetic mutations in babies, invisible effects in those who walk through its wilds?  What does the Stalker hope to find himself?  Is it his purification - to bring others to self-actualizing cleansing and awareness?  Does each person moving through find their own reflexive mirror inside the Zone?  And why is it so heavily protected?  What is the world that the Zone even exists in?  We're presented a destitute, empty, ravaged world.  It is filthy.  People blend into each other.  Perhaps the need to escape into the dangerous exoticism of Zone is because of the conditions presented exterior to it.

We are left with only questions.  What of the child, Monkey, with telekinetic powers, and the unbroken glass.  What of the dog - the spirit animal who leaves the zone with the men, how do the men escape back through the deadly barriers?