All Drawings Copyright Dan Marquart

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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

See how happy Stalker is? He seems to be revitalized after spending some time alone with the Zone. At this point another howl is heard. Writer asks, "Did you hear it?" Professor says, "Maybe someone lives here?" Stalker answers back,  "Who?" Professor looks incredulously at Stalker. "You told me yourself about some tourists camped here when the Zone originated." Stalker says, "There's no one in the Zone and there can't be." This statement is interesting because there are three people in the Zone right at this moment. Is the Zone something other than what we think it is? Stalker declares that it is time to go, starts the trolley up and sends it on its way back. It is almost like a little reprise of the trolley trip to the Zone. Writer watches the trolley until it, and its sound, disappears into the nothingness. I like the quiet shot of all three guys just standing there lost in their thoughts. Writer then wonders how they will return, and Stalker says, "They don't return here." Writer then wants to know what that means but of course his question is ignored  by Stalker's statement, "We will go as agreed." So the journey begins. Professor is first, then Writer, who must follow in Professor's footsteps because any deviation from Stalker's directions will be dangerous. The trio head for the first marker, a pole near an abandoned old bus. Notice that Writer trips. This next scene is one of my favorites. The camera angle is almost from ground level. We are slowly moving in towards one side of the bus. At first, you may think that the sound of something moving through the grass is caused by whatever this camera angle is supposed to represent. Are we seeing through the eyes of some creature, maybe the one we heard howling earlier? As we approach the bus, there appears to be some weird looking bodies that seem to be melted into each other. Just before reaching the opening in the bus it still sounds like we are making the sounds crunching through the grass. Then you hear a strange whimpering sound that I eventually found out is a bird song.  As Stalker walks into frame on the other side of the bus we realize that it's our three adventurers making all that rustling sound. Once again Tarkovsky has masterfully introduced the sound of  something we have not seen yet into the frame, ultimately disorienting the viewer. There also is a mounted machine gun in the remains of the bus.  Although we can't make out exactly what these malformed bodies look like, we can tell by the reactions of Stalker, Professor and Writer that it must be horrific. Writer looks back quite a few times while Stalker talks about the people who first came here when he was just a boy. Stalker then throws one of the nuts tied to a rag and instructs Professor to move on to this point. Writer is next to follow in Professor's path after tripping and falling into Stalker. As all three men fade out of view, seemingly absorbed by the tall grass, the camera lingers on the remnants of some military vehicles and tanks.

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