Stalker (1979)

October 11, 2017 · Regal Riviera · 7:00 p.m.

As with all Public Cinema events, this screening is free and open to the public.

“Tarkovsky is the greatest of them all. He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams.” — Ingmar Bergman

Andrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature is a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide—the Stalker—leads a writer and a scientist into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires.

Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere, qualities that are on immaculate display in this stunning new restoration of a film until now rarely seen in U.S. cinemas. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.

Restored by Mosfilm from a 2K scan of the original negative.

About the Filmmaker

The son of a prominent Russian poet, Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) studied filmmaking at the All-Union State Cinematography Institute and graduated in 1960. His diploma work, The Steamroller and the Violin (1960), won a prize at the New York Film Festival, and his first full-length feature film, Ivan’s Childhood (1962), about the experiences of an orphaned boy on the Russian front during World War II, established his international reputation. His next film, Andrei Rublev (1965), the story of a medieval Russian icon painter, was acclaimed as a masterpiece for its vivid evocation of the Middle Ages. His subsequent films included Solaris (1971), Mirror (1975), and Stalker (1979).

Tarkovsky’s films were notable for their striking visual images, their symbolic, visionary tone, and their paucity of conventional plot and dramatic structure. Several of his films were barred from domestic distribution by the Soviet authorities, and in 1984 Tarkovsky decided to remain in the West after having filmed Nostalgia (1983) in Italy. His last motion picture, also made in western Europe, was The Sacrifice (1986).