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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker: Revelations

Writer: Listen, Professor. Speaking of the purchased inspiration. Let's imagine that I enter this room and return to our God-forsaken town a genius. A man writes because he's tormented, because he doubts. He needs to constantly prove to himself and the others that he's worth something. And if I know for sure that I'm a genius? Why write then? What the hell for? Well, I must say that we exist for...
Professor: Will you be so kind and leave me alone? Let me get a wink, I haven't slept all night. Keep your complexes to yourself.
Writer: In any case, all this technology of yours...all those blast furnaces, wheels...and other bullshit are only designed in order to work less and eat more. They are all just crutches, artificial limbs (now that's an interesting comment!). And mankind exists in order to create...works of art. Unlike all other human activities, this one is unselfish. Great illusions! Images of the absolute truth! Are you listening to me, Professor?
Professor: What unselfishness are you talking about? People still die of hunger. Have you fallen from the moon?
Writer: And they are considered to be our brainy aristocracy! You're not even capable of thinking in abstractions.
Professor: Are you going to teach me about the meaning of life? And also how to think?
Writer: It's useless. You might be a professor, but an ignorant one.
(mini dust twister breakaway and back)
Now we hear what sounds like Stalker's wife softly recite Revelation 6:12-17 as the camera pans vertically in sepia tones over water with all kinds of interesting debris. See how many different things you can Identify.
Voice Over (female voice) And there was a great earthquake. And the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair. And the moon became like blood...And the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts it's unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth and the great men and the rich and the chiliarchs and the strong and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (laughter) The camera stops panning when it reaches Stalkers hand in the water. Then we switch back to color in a great shot that follows Stalker's head as he sits up. When Stalker's head is upside down and he opens his eyes he looks like an unearthly figure! And now Stalkers voice is heard reading parts of Luke 24:13-18. During this part we cut away to see the dog by himself in front of a building sit up anxiously.
Stalker: And that very day two...two of them...were going to a village which was about 60 stadia from...named...and they were conversing with each other about all these things. And while they were conversing and discussing...He Himself approached, and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them: "What are these words...you are exchanging with one another, and why are you sad?" And one of them, named... (trailing off) During this part the camera reveals Writer resting his head on the Professor, his eyes opening, and then a pan over to Professor who's eyes are now open.
Stalker: Are you awake? You were speaking of the meaning...of our...life...of the unselfishness of art...Take music for instance. Less than anything else, it is connected to reality, or if connected at all, it's done mechanically, not by way of ideas, just by a shear sound, devoid of...any associations. And yet, music, as if by some miracle, gets through to our heart. What is it that resonates in us in response to noise brought to harmony, making it the source of the greatest delight which stuns us and brings us together? What's all this needed for? And most important, who needs it? You would say, "No one. And for no reason." Unselfishly. No. I don't think so. After all, everything has some sense. Sense and reason.
Then the camera cuts to Writer and Professor both sitting up and then the scene fades to black.

Next Post: The meat grinder.

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