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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker: Do you think you should really be driving? or How I learned to stop worrying and love driving with my top off. Part 3

I like this next part. Writer is sitting in the jeep with his hands clasped together as 
if praying. He has quite a few soul-searching scenes in this movie where he tries to 
make sense of his inner torment. This reminds me of an Agony in the Garden painting. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Did you notice that when Writer starts to 
talk, Professor walks away from him and stands on the other side of the room near 
Stalker? There are many scenes in this movie where Writer is separated from the other 
two, and he's also the one who is usually cast forefront into danger. Writer's dialog 
here is great: "Everything I told you before is a lie. I don't give a damn about 
inspiration. How would I know the right word for what I want? How would I know that 
actually I don't want what I want? Or that I actually don't want what I don't want. They 
are elusive things: the moment we name them, their meaning disappears, melts, dissolves like a jellyfish in the sun. My conscience wants vegetarianism to win over the world. And my subconscious is yearning for a piece of juicy meat. But what do I want?" These words are very significant, as is Professor's response from across the room: "World domination". In the next scene, a heavily guarded gate is opened to let that same train go through. The way the scene is shot, you think the train is coming towards you, 
because everything in the distance gets brighter and is eventually washed out in White 
light. The train is coming from behind you on the left. Hey look! It's the motorcycle 
cop. The guards check out the train inside out and underneath. There must be some kind 
of Zone hobo problem. Now we cut back next to Stalker, who grabs Professor and heads for the jeep.It's funny though, because Professor runs about halfway, then turns around and runs back towards the camera, and then turns around again and runs back toward the jeep. It reminds me of something a little kid would do.

Or one of the Three...well, you know. Maybe he was afraid of getting back in the jeep with Stalker driving. So Stalker takes off in the jeep to the left and then instantly appears behind the train going through the gate. I swear, Stalker drives the length of the cordon going sideways in the jeep, almost bashing into the chain fence on the sides. As usual, Stalker and the train drive into nothingness. We never get to see any surroundings. As Stalker veers off to the left, the guards open fire on him with machine guns. However, the trainload of Insulators is between them and Stalker, so the guards completely obliterate the insulators and coils, part of a power line, a bunch of windows, and a pile of crates. Stalker is driving backwards and smashes into a building, drives through the knocked over crates going forward again, and manages to avoid getting hit by a window that has apparently fallen from the sky. At the end of this scene, we hear screeching before we cut to the next scene where Stalker stops just short of decapitating him and his passengers. Stalker then tells Writer to go see if there is a trolley on the tracks. 

Writer asks, "what trolley?" and Stalker just says, "Go! Go!" See what I mean about 
Writer? Once again, he is sent on a perilous journey. Writer looks like Boris Karloff as he 
walks from the jeep, gets shot at, dives into a bunch of foliage, and is rescued by 
Professor who says, "I'll do it." Writer looks like Max Shreck as Nosferatu on the way 
back to the jeep. Professor then walks to go look in the building, and as he passes out 
of view the camera zooms in on the water reflection of a window opening and then machine gun fire hits the water. And while the camera is still on this, we can hear someone sloshing through water. Now we cut to the inside of this building and can see it was the sound of Professor walking to the trolley car. Once he gets there, he signals to Stalker, who pulls up with the jeep, and after some more gunfire a quick discussion 
occurs regarding Professor not needing his backpack with him. The Professor insists on bringing it, saying, "You may travel light, if you wish, as if going for a stroll."

Next Post: The Trolley Car Ride, or You're not in Kansas any more.

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