Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky
Starring: Aleksandr Kaidanovsky, Alisa Frejndlikh, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko
Andrei Tarkovsky made films that aren’t to everyone’s liking—including mine, quite frankly. They’re too gloomy, too esoteric and too slow-moving. That said, I recognize his visual mastery and can understand why he is highly regarded by many people. His 1979 sci-fi film Stalker is very much of a piece with his other works I’ve seen: long, slow, grim and deliberately enigmatic. The premise centers on Stalker (Aleksandr Kaidanovsky), a man who makes his living by taking people into a forbidden area called “the Zone.” This is an area that was closed off years ago after a troop of soldiers investigated an alien incursion to the region—and the soldiers never returned. Rumor persists that in the Zone there is a room that fulfills the wishes and desires of anyone who enters it. Stalker is one of a handful of special people with the ability to find this room. The film follows him leading two men into the Zone and the room. It’s interesting, occasionally mesmerizing, and there are those who find it deeply meaningful.
Classic Cinema From Around the World will present Stalker at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 14, at Courtyard Gallery, 109 Roberts St. in the Phil Mechanic Studios building, River Arts District. Info: 273-3332.