63 – Stalker

Welcome to The Best Movies I’ve Never Seen! This is the part of the blog where I work my way through 100 films I’ve never seen that are generally considered to be great. You’re invited to watch along with me if you can find a copy or find it streaming. So grab some popcorn and let’s get started!

Stalker

1979

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

Quick synopsis… Based on the Russian sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic, this science fiction milestone from director Andrei Tarkovsky takes you into the Zone, a mysterious, guarded realm containing a mystical room in which occupants’ secret dreams come true. Stalker, a man able to lead others to this holy grail, escorts a writer and a scientist through this foreboding territory and confronts several unexpected challenges along the way.

This may be the first Russian film I’ve ever seen. I’m certain it’s the first Soviet-era Russian film I’ve ever seen. And it’s made my list of the Best Movies I’ve Never Seen based mostly on the fact that it has become so beloved internationally. The British Film Institute includes it as number 39 in their list of the 50 Greatest Films of All Time.

We are introduced to a man who works as a Stalker. In this world, a distant future, a Stalker is one who is hired to lead others through the Zone. The Zone is a place where the normal laws of physics seem not to apply and contains what remains of alleged extraterrestrial activity. Something that attracts people to the Zone is an area known as the Room, a location that is rumored to grant the wishes of anyone who goes inside.

In spite of the danger and the pleas from his family, the Stalker agrees to guide a Writer and a Professor into the Zone. The trio make it past a military blockade by following a train past the gate. The Stalker warns the other two that they must do exactly as he tells them in order to avoid traps along the way.

In their journey, the men discuss their reasons for seeking out the Room. The Writer fears that he is losing his inspiration. The Professor hopes to win a Nobel Prize for his study of the Zone. And the Stalker just wants to help desperate people find their hearts’ desires.

And here is where I’ll end my recap because we get some pretty interesting twists to the narrative heading toward the climax.

I definitely recommend this one if you like a good sci-fi and are willing to put up with the subtitles. I mean… unless you are fluent in Russian. For someone who only speaks English, like myself, movies like this can be difficult to follow if you aren’t paying attention, so I recommend that you also pay attention if you’re taking the time to watch this one.

Having now seen Stalker, it ranks at 1,991 out of 2,274 films on my personal Flickchart.

Have you ever seen Stalker? Personally, I’d never heard of it before it hit this list. But if you’ve seen it I would love to know your thoughts. Feel free to share them down in the comments!

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