"You dream of one thing and get something quite different."
- Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) to Stalker (Alexander Kaidanovsky)
Sight and Sound - 12/01/1980
"...A preternaturally vivid style rendered Dosteyevskyan by monochrome photography whose raspingly harsh textures suggest some grainy newsreel footage of the future..."
Uncut - 04/01/2005
"Its intriguing ideas and starkly moving imagery haunt you for years."
Premiere - 01/01/2007 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] pure masterpiece, with every frame a perfectly composed work of art."
With STALKER, Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky returns to the mind-bending, philosophy-tinged science fiction of SOLARIS. The setting is an unnamed country in an unforeseen postapocalyptic future. A meteorite has landed, and its impact has created a mysterious phenomenon known as the Zone, within which resides a sinister room said to grant humanity's deepest desires. Only Stalkers are able to enter the Zone, bringing intrepid citizens to test their strength and desires against the Zone's enigmatic treacheries. The film follows one such Stalker (Alexander Kaidanovsky) as he attempts to bring two characters known as Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn) and Scientist (Nikolai Grinko) into the Zone. The hapless trio makes a difficult and mud-drenched journey, dodging military guards and invisible traps and enduring extreme psychological strain. While Tarkovsky avoids any direct political reading of STALKER, the film's allegorical structure presents a powerful and disturbing metaphor for humanity's loss of and subsequent quest for faith. The Stalker's struggle to rescue himself and his family while guiding those more wretched than himself creates a physical and metaphysical drama that leaves the viewer breathless. Blending visual, narrative, and cinematic conventions to portray the fractured logic of the Zone, Tarkovsky conjures a universe of despair and desire in which science, rationalism, and technology must face off against love, humanism, and faith.
In Andrei Tarkovsky's philosophical sci-fi film, a man able to enter the dreaded area known as the Zone leads a writer and a scientist on a quest for an enigmatic wish-fulfilling room.
STALKER premiered in May 1979 in Moscow, Russia.
The film was shown on what was then West German television, thanks to partial German financing of the production.
Filmed in Talinn, Estonia.
The filming of STALKER began in February 1977 and was completed in 1979.
After shooting all of the exterior shots for the film, Tarkovsky and his crew discovered that there was a serious defect in the film stock they were using, and thus everything had to be reshot.
STALKER is based on PICNIC BY THE ROADSIDE by Arkadi Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky.
There were more than 10 versions of the script written during production of the film.
STALKER was Tarkovsky's first film for which no significant cuts were requested by the Soviet authorities.
Since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster closely followed the release of STALKER, the film has been hailed by many as a prophetic vision of ecological disaster.
F.I. Tiutchev and Arseny Tarkovsky (the director's father) wrote the poetry used in the film.
The film's black-and-white sections are variously tinted in color and sepia tones. The sequences in the Zone are filmed in color.
"It's about the existence of God in man and about the death of spirituality as a result of our possessing false knowledge."--Tarkovsky on STALKER