Arguably Andrei Tarkovsky’s finest masterpiece, the Russian director’s 1979 film Stalker is the culmination of a career-long preoccupation with memory, trauma and the relationship between subjective perception and physical reality.
Following a mysterious disaster that rendered a small town uninhabitable, the eponymous Stalker (Alexksanr Kaydanovskiy) illegally takes visitors in to the area now known as the Zone, where there is a room that can reputedly fulfil their deepest desires. In theme, Stalker is very similar to Solaris – both films use physical space to externalise psychological experience. But where Solaris is set in the vast abyss of the cosmos, Stalker tends more towards magical realism than hard sci-fi, taking an otherwise mundane location and making it fantastical.
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