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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker: They don't Return Here

When we reach the Zone a few different things happen. The first thing is the change to color. Actually, to be more specific, earth colors. There are many shades of green, brown and grey. There are still patches of fog, but they seem to be much more active here. Oh, look at all the webbing in the group of  trees in the center. There are a lot of webs in this film. What does that mean? Try to find them all. You'll note that as we pull up you can't see the trolley yet but you hear it come to a stop. Then we cut to the guys on the trolley. Keep your eye on Stalker. He almost seems to be rejuvenated upon arriving. Stalker's comment is very interesting: "Here we are... home at last." That's a powerful statement. What does that imply? My god, did Stalker actually smile? After asking Professor to tie the bandages to the nuts, Stalker says that he is going to take a walk because there is something he needs to do. After he leaves, Professor tells Writer a few things about Stalker: "You see becoming a Stalker is some kind of calling. His background is even more frightful. Several times in prison and then he was harmed here. He has a mutant daughter. 'A victim of the Zone' as they call it. They say she's got no legs." At this point a strange howling is heard. It almost sounds human. We now cut to a close up of some rusted metal parts almost covered in overgrowth. Andrei Tarkovsky is a master at panning the camera. This is true in all his films and especially this one. His camera panning always has purpose. Usually what he ends up panning to is unexpected and the camera movement is usually dramatic and used to build tension. Note the use of the music from the beginning of the film. I feel all this brings the film to a transitional point. The camera pans up revealing a dead bush surrounded by live ones. The top half of the bush is covered in cobwebs. The camera continues to show an open field, an old power line pole, and finally a gray building further back whose windows and entranceway almost seem to form a face. Tarkovsky's camera movement also always makes use of planes. Meaning that when he pans the camera, different parts of the scenery seem to move independently of each other adding incredible depth to his films and revealing spaces you may not have noticed yet. Did you notice that now Tarkovsky has trees everywhere, so we still can't see what's in the far distance. Ok, you have probably noticed that during this sequence, we hear some crunchy, walking through grass and brush sounds. When we cut to the next scene, we can see Stalker sitting on his knees surrounded by foliage. We can't see where he is in relationship to the previous scene. He almost seems to be in a praying position and then lies down face first onto the ground. There is an inch worm walking across his hand. We then cut back to where Professor and Writer are still discussing the Zone and it's history. After Writer says: "Some gift. Why on earth would they do it?" , Stalker reappears, almost getting decapitated by a collapsing telephone crosspiece, replying: "To make us happy."

Next Post: Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker: They don't Return Here Part 2

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