The Story of Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Troubled (and Even Deadly) Sci-Fi Masterpiece

Andrei Tarkovsky is a well-liked filmmaker. This may come as a shock to those that know the Soviet grasp largely by his status as a maker of flicks so poetic, critical, and deliberate of tempo that they alter their viewers’ relationship to time itself. But Stalker, which ranks amongst his very most poetic, critical, and deliberate works, was, as of the recording of the video essay above by Youtuber CinemaTyler, probably the most streamed film on the Criterion Channel. Not solely that, however the essay itself, Stalker (1979): The Sci-Fi Masterpiece That Killed Its Director,” has as of this writing racked up greater than 1.6 million views.

As CinemaTyler’s most-seen episode, this Stalker exegesis outranks in reputation his analyses of classics like Blade RunnerNorth by Northwest, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It has additionally drawn extra viewers than his many movies on the work of Stanley Kubrick, from The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey to Barry Lyndon and A Clockwork Orange. However for an auteur fanatic of his type, one can hardly start discussing Kubrick with out mentioning Tarkovsky, and vice versa. Some factors of comparability are extra apparent than others: CinemaTyler mentions Tarkovsky’s low opinion of 2001, which performed an element in shaping the starkly totally different appear and feel of his personal first science-fiction image Solaris.

There’s additionally a reference to “Kubrick/Tarkovsky,” a video essay previously featured here on Open Culture that catalogs the subtler visible resonances between their movies. “Kubrick is one aspect of the mind,” as CinemaTyler places it, “and Tarkovsky the opposite.” As a lot as they’ve in widespread on a deeper stage, on the floor Kubrick and Tarkovsky’s oeuvres each oppose and complement one another. Whereas Kubrick labored solely in genres, Tarkovsky largely eschewed them: Stalker, which got here out seven years after Solaris, pulls sci-fi virtually unrecognizably far into his personal aesthetic territory.

This thrust Tarkovsky and his collaborators into their most arduous filmmaking effort but: they needed to execute sophisticated setups in actual industrial wastelands, make a number of adjustments of cinematographer, and even shoot the complete film twice after issues with the preliminary movie inventory. CinemaTyler recounts these difficulties and others, not ignoring the broadly held suspicion that these toxic places in the end prompted the deaths of a number of of its creators, together with Tarkovsky himself. Kubrick’s shoots have been additionally notoriously troublesome, in fact, however none demanded fairly the sacrifice Stalker did — and arguably, none produced fairly an inexplicably compelling a cinematic expertise.

You possibly can decide up a duplicate of Stalker on Blu-ray.

Associated Content material:

Free Online: Watch the Films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Arguably the Most Respected Filmmaker of All Time

Slavoj Žižek Explains the Artistry of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Films: Solaris, Stalker & More

“Kubrick/Tarkovsky”: A Video Essay Explores the Visual Similarities Between the Two “Cinematic Giants”

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Masterpiece Stalker Gets Adapted into a Video Game

Tarkovsky’s Advice to Young Filmmakers: Sacrifice Yourself for Cinema

Primarily based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the guide The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll by 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video collection The City in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Story of <i>Stalker</i>, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Troubled (and Even Deadly) Sci-Fi Masterpiece is a submit from: Open Culture. Observe us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And do not miss our large collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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