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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker: The Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish.

As this last scene ends, the camera slowly zooms in on the military vehicles through a small patch of tall grass that's slowly moving back and forth. The out of focus grass adds a nice ethereal touch. And remember, our guys are still in this scene, we just can't see them. The next shot shows them from far away in an open field surrounded by trees. By all rights we should be able to see the tanks, the bus and, for that matter, the train tracks behind our guys. As we will find out, things in the Zone are always changing, and this could explain the different background. Or, everything could still be there, it's just obscured by the changing angles and planes much as our guys were in the last scene. I like this shot. Look how small man is compared to nature. Listen how loud their footsteps are even though they are far away. This scene is very cool. Notice how they all converge to the center of the shot just before we cut to a close up of our trio from the right. Now Stalker tells the other two that their room is right over there but they must go a different way. This prompts Writer to ask: "Why, when it is so close at hand?" Stalker replies: "Yes, but the hand has to be very long." He then wings a nut over to the right and we see Professor head for it. See how cautious Professor is? Watch  how casual Writer is as he whistles and dramatically hops his way over. Then he sees something on the ground and yanks it, causing a nearby bush to dance around wildly. Stalker yells: "Don't! Leave it alone! Don't touch it! " So, of course Writer yanks it again. Stalker screams: "Don't touch it, I said!" He then picks up a big iron rod and hurls it at Writer causing him to go ballistic and start yelling at Stalker. At this point Stalker explains that the Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish. Writer is still being argumentative . He wants to go to the room and is annoyed with all this walking around. Now Professor is getting nervous and declares that Writer is insane.  Meanwhile, Writer pulls the liquor bottle out of his coat but Stalker asks if he can see it before Writer gets a chance to drink any. Stalker then walks away a little bit and pours it all out onto the ground. He then asks them if they can feel the wind coming up. Writer doesn't seem to be very happy. Look at the expression on Professor's face as he walks by Writer. Classic. Professor does this three times in a row. He's very good at glaring. And now Writer decides he is going to the room. Case closed. After swearing Professor in as a witness, Stalker tells Writer if anything strange happens, to turn around and come back. Writer just tells Stalker not to throw iron poles at him. Isn't this exciting!? As Writer walks away, the camera slowly pans up revealing the building we saw earlier when Stalker was kneeling in the grass.  We can already see that things are in slow motion before the camera cuts to a close up just behind Writer. This shot is in almost in every Tarkovsky movie. He likes to do this. Instead of seeing things in a first person view as if it were you seeing through a characters eyes, he uses a third person view as if you are right behind the character. This film has a LOT of scenes like this. See if you can find them all.

Next Post : Who said That?

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