We don't get to see how Stalker and Writer get to the bar. Instead, we see Stalker walk up the stairs from our vantage point inside the bar. Stalker walks right past us and now we can see Writer coming up the stairs, only he doesn’t make it. Writer trips. Once he is back on his feet, he comes in and walks past us to the table where Professor is. I like how Writer’s coat is just a mass of solid blackness. Writer walks to the bar to grab some glasses, and Stalker promptly wrangles him back the table and tells him to put his bottle away. Writer then goes back to buy some beer. I think this is probably better barroom etiquette. Writer then proceeds to down one beer while Luger is pouring the other two plus a new one for Writer. At this point Stalker proclaims that henceforth Writer will be known as Writer and Professor will be known as (yup, you guessed it) Professor. While they are bantering back and forth, take a look at Stalker. He seems extremely uncomfortable, nervous, and ill. He looks tormented inside. It’s interesting to note that during Professor and Writer’s conversation, Professor answers Writer’s questions vaguely and evasively, while Writer tends to spill his cynical guts. When Stalker asks them if they hear the train, it’s almost as if he needs assurance that he’s not hearing things. Notice how at the beginning of the scene we are really far away from the table, and at the end we are right on top of it. During this scene, Tarkovsky almost imperceptibly continuously zooms in the camera. As they get up to leave, Stalker tells Luger that if he doesn't come back to tell his wife. This prompts Writer, his whole head filling the screen, to turn and look back. No, Writer! You should NEVER look back! Writer tries to go back again because he realizes he has only one cigarette left. This time, Professor holds him back, suggesting it could be bad luck. I like how Stalker asks Professor if he took the top off the car. It just seems like a funny thing to say. And now begins the first example of Writer asking questions that no one acknowledges or ever answers. Are you really a scientist?
Tomorrow’s post: Do you think you should really be driving? or How I learned to stop worrying and love driving with my top off.