When I wrote yesterday's post, I think I was hung up maybe a little too much on the comparison between book and film, how 'Stalker' (for me) is a stripping away of all the genre tropes from the Strugatskys' novel 'Roadside Picnic'.
Also, the enigmatic qualities of the film appealed to me so strongly that I resisted analysing or probing the film. But as with even the most slippery and ambiguous works of art, there are doorways - or even just hairline cracks - that allow a way in; that allow for a reading, an interpretation, an understanding.
I didn't strive for these things in my review, content to let the mysteries of 'Stalker' swirl around me.
Francisco Gonzalez discussed 'Stalker' as the inaugural review on his blog The Film Connoisseur (a brave and inspired choice of film to kick off a new blog with), and he left a comment on my article which proved a thought-provoking take on the film. I thought it was too good a piece of writing to remain hidden in the comments section, and with Francisco's kind permission, it is printed below:
The way I saw it, the whole film was a metaphor for religion. The Stalker serves as the religious preacher, looking for new members - in this case the two people he is guiding through "the zone".
The Zone to me is religion. The film was an exploration of why people need it, why its there, and why should it be there? Do we really need it to survive? And should it be blown to smithereens? Eliminated forever from society?
All this revealed through the conversations that the characters have, and it's intriguing that one is a writer, one is a philosopher and one is a mathematician.
That last scene, where they are looking at "the room", I guess the room means something different to each of them, one wants to blow it up, the other thinks we need it. Kind of like in 'Solaris' where they were thinking of blowing up the whole place with bombs, I believe it was?
Also, the last shot with the little kid being "different", I thought there was some telekinesis involved there, demonstrating that it's in the future generation's hands to change things...with the power of their minds. That's how I saw it, youth, future generations can move things, change them, including problems that plague our society right now. But then again, maybe it was just the vibrations from the train that was passing by? Or was it? I loved that ambiguity there!
It seems Tarkovsky enjoyed playing with these themes, which in my opinion he also played with in 'Solaris'. The planet that makes people see things...
Francisco's review of 'Stalker' can be read here; it's a good and insightful piece.