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Friday, July 15, 2011

Chingachgook and Leatherstockings

In Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker, Writer refers to Stalker as Chingachgook four separate times and also Leatherstockings two separate times. I should note that the word Stalker in Russian is defined as a Guide or a Pathfinder. It has nothing to do with the American meaning of Stalker. I had no idea what Chingachgook or Leatherstockings was referring to until I looked it up the first time I Watched Stalker. This Wikipedia article can explain it better than I can: "Chingachgook was a fictional character in four of James Fenimore Cooper's five Leatherstocking Tales, a lone Mohican chief and companion of the series' hero Natty Bumppo. Chingachgook married Wah-ta-Wah who bore him a son Uncas, but she died young. Uncas, at his birth "last of the Mohicans" grew to manhood but was killed in a battle with renegade Magua. Chingachgook dies as an old man in the novel The Pioneers and so is the actual Last of the Mohicans, having outlived his son.
Chingachgook is said to have been modeled after a real-life wandering Mahican basket maker and hunter named Captain John. The fictional character, occasionally called John Mohegan in the series, was an idealized embodiment of the traditional noble savage. The French often refer to Chingachgook as “Le Grand Serpent”, the Great Snake, because he understands the winding ways of men's nature and he can strike a sudden, deadly blow." Leatherstockings refers to the pants Chingachgook wore. So now I know  Writer refers to Stalker that way because he is their guide through the Zone and eventually to the room where your innermost desires can come true. If you have faith in yourself!


  1. I have seen this film over and over many times. I can honestly say I take a different interpretation home within myself after each viewing. I am no where closer to the herat of the film but feel like a leatherstocking in that I can lead you to the film, but can't promise what you will get. Made at the cusp of the "cold war" the USSR is obviously more concerned with cover up than nation building. Left to your own devices, the Zone would be your own personal safe haven. Beautifully shot, lots of water, and three complex characters wreck persoanl havoc with each other and within themselves. Like life - the Zone remains ominous and perplexing

  2. Thank you for commenting, I really appreciate it! I have watched this film so many times and it's hard to get people to understand Why I do. There is just something, as you say, about how it affects you so differently each time you watch it. The film seems to adapt and morph around and fit into the circumstances that you are going through that day that you watch it. I love this movie and I'm glad to hear comments from people who have been moved by it as much as I have. Sincerely Dan Marquart

  3. I saw this film after reading 'Roadside Picnic' and playing the STALKER pc games. This, to me, is a much more interesting take on 'low-fi' from around the same time as 'Alien' - this film has style with real substance. The tension of being in the 'Zone' is well portrayed using despite there being almost no effects. The fear of using the 'Wish Granter' facing the Stalker is, perhaps, that he is scared that his subconscious 'Wish' might NOT be to help his daughter (who was born with non legs because he would not stop going into the Zone). Amazing film.

    1. Thank You for commenting! I agree with your thoughts on Stalker. I think he doesn't have faith in his own true inner feelings and that is why he is so disappointed when he can't seem to find anyone else who is willing to trust their own inner feelings. I think if he could find someone who believed in themselves this would give him the confidence to do the same. I'm glad you like the film, it's always nice to know other people enjoy it as much as I do. Dan