Confounding, aspiration



In a future world that has been seemingly ravaged by war and poverty there exists a myth of hope among the people — a forbidden place known only as the Zone, the heart of which, if reached, grants one’s innermost desires. Two men, a writer and professor, hire someone known as a Stalker; a guide who can navigate the treacherous and confounding path that leads to the centre of the Zone.

Stalker was instantly considered one of the most definitive artistic contemplations of human aspiration and the ambition we employ to achieve it.



This week’s copy appears on the back panel of a DVD rereleased in 2016. (Although we’ve quoted the URL here, the designers of the Curzon website have in fact quietly substituted most of the 2016 blurb with text from an older Artificial Eye release.)

Curzon Artificial Eye and its illustrious predecessor have been specialist distributors of foreign language movies for more than 40 years. While we might expect the company’s copywriters to reserve their best efforts for the latest releases, it’s surprising to find a media business with an extensive back catalog treating long-lived product so shabbily. Para#1 seems to want to recast Tarkovsky’s sombre dreamscape as the kind of dystopian sf playground frequented by Milla Jovovich, while #2 reads, regrettably, like monkeys with typewriters.

Our rewrite is tailored for the 80s cineastes who form Stalker‘s core audience, but we think it would provide millennials with an honest flavour of a wonderful movie.


Tarkovsky’s Stalker is an ambiguous parable set in the Zone, an otherworld where post-industrial decay is succumbing to rioting vegetation and the incessant trickle of water, where the laws of physics are open to negotiation, and where solace is available to the pure-in-heart… at a price.

Released seven years after Solaris and utterly devoid of its predecessor’s special effects wizardry, Stalker has nevertheless been hailed as one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made. It demonstrates how the director’s singular vision is capable of rendering even the most mundane experiences luminous.