Reading the reviews on IMDb has cemented what I have always felt about this film and about art in general. It is not always about a "product" that sums things up in a tidy sentence or a two hour film.
It is possible to criticize this film based on the conventions of the medium, but thats besides the point. Sure the stalker is the only fleshed out character, but the writer and the scientist are not even supposed to be characters to begin with. I think its fairly obvious they are archetypes that represent a conflict. Some people have said that the science versus religion thing is tired, this is missing the point completely!!!! Its the absurdity of trying to reduce any conflict to a duality to begin with.
The scene where we observe them sitting together makes it all very clear. We are observing them from the very room itself, where our innermost desires are laid bare and revealed. With this insight we can see that there is no duality to begin with, but only different ways to strive towards an understanding, the characters are joined together, their separation dissolves.
Someone mentioned that this film is "straining for deepness, and many a viewer will constantly feel this strain." They seemed a little confused because most films strain for this, as do most people!!!!! A successful film will always have this strain because that is part of our existence. Stalker evokes that yearning and allows us to feel it, and that is one of its best qualities I think. To actual visually embody the yearning for meaning, thats what A.T. has done here.
Stalker vs. Solaris: Another point of contention on IMDb, Most people seem to like a Solaris more...all I will say is this: Solaris is much more obvious and much more straightforward. I guess people find it easier, but in its supposed "humanism" its actually quite sterile, its clean. It presents human problems but through a haze of "greatness" that you will find with a lot of art. Its filmed from a further distance is what I am trying to say.
Stalker is the down and dirty, the swamp, the overgrowth, insects, water, rotting, rust. Its a much more dynamic world, just like our striving is much more dynamic than duality. Its dark, confusing, musty, a little frightening, but extremely beautiful.
I would like to mention the use of the word pretentious. If you have you used the word pretentious in your review please read a dictionary and understand a word before you use it. That word is used constantly to instantly demonize something. It is the equivalent of calling someone an anti-semite. It is loaded and works against serious discussion and observation.
THIS FILM IS NOT PRETENTIOUS BECAUSE IT DOES NOT ATTEMPT TO IMPRESS OR HOLD ANY GREAT IMPORTANCE!!!!!!! It just exists as it does and its people afterwords that attach importance to it. A.T. refused to ever state clearly what this film is about. So you can discount everything that I just said and anyone else said about it. Like life, like existence itself there is no clear meaning.
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