All Drawings Copyright Dan Marquart

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker: Is he going with us?

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.


  1. Do you think Luger the bartender is the only person in the film called by his real name? (Or is it a nickname, like a gun?) And if it is his real name, why do you figure he's the only person in the film to have one?

    1. I think Luger is a nickname. Only because he is referred to with one name, just like stalker, professor, writer, monkey and porcupine. Although you would think that his name would be Bartender. It's an interesting name since it describes a German weapon considering the history of Russia and Germany. Also the fact that in the movie various weapons keep showing up time to time with various guns being shown underwater. The character Luger is interesting because he seems kind of shady. He never stands still too long, he doesn't say too much and keeps wandering on and off camera. If it is his real name then that seems to separate him from everyone else in the movie. Is he Stalkers only link to the real world? Luger definitely knows what stalker does and stalker trusts him enough to have him contact his wife if something happens. I would think that if it was his real name it would be a proper name without a secondary meaning. It's a great question. I never really thought about if it's his actual name or not. Luger always strikes me as a little shifty with the air of a criminal background. Since stalker is bringing people to the zone illegally then Luger must know this and I wonder what agreement he has with stalker to keep quiet. I appreciate you reading my blog and thanks for your question! Sincerely, Dan Marquart