Saturday, November 11, 2006


STALKER (USSR 1979 Tarkovsky)
Pacific Cinematheque
Friday, November 10 - 9:00 pm
Saturday, November 11 - 6:30 pm

Featured on all three of the Arts & Faith 100 Spiritually Significant Films polls (2004, 2005, 2006). Tarkovsky is a giant: THE SACRIFICE blew me away on first viewing, ANDREI RUBLEV took work but after my third viewing and ongoing careful watching, it's become a very important film to me. I tackled STALKER on the wrong night, and found the typically slow Tarkovsky pace increasingly galling, the film's story too eliptical. But I'll be revisiting "The Zone," knowing how Tarko rewards repeat viewings.
Cinematheque: "Brilliantly dense and breathtakingly textured, Tarkovsky's Stalker suggests a fantastical confluence of in-the-gulag Solzhenitsyn and post-apocalyptic science fiction, and could be an elaborate, allegorical, otherworldly illustration of that old maxim, "Be careful what you wish for . . . " In a devastated post-industrial police state, two men, a writer and a scientist, engage the special mystic skills of a Stalker to guide them through the forbidden Zone, a damp, fecund, overgrown wasteland where the rules of nature no longer apply. At the centre of the Zone, it is reputed, is the Room, a place where the deepest desires of one's heart are said to come true. The amazing journey there will test the limits and adequacy of the way each of the three protagonists makes sense of the world: through art, through science, and through faith. Distinguished by a remarkable sense of tactility, composed of stunning sepia images, and offering layer upon layer of meaning, Stalker is a haunting and unforgettable work from a (late) director whose (too few) films are quite unlike anything else in world cinema. "A masterpiece . . . Not an easy film, but most certainly a great one" (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader). "As always, Tarkovsky conjures images like you've never seen before" (Time Out). B&W and colour, 35mm, in Russian with English subtitles. 163 mins."

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