Led for your Head wrote:
Second time watching Stalker, I realized just how 'Russian' the film really is.
you know, i always wonder how non-russians perceive tarkovsky's movies (and, well, all other russian/soviet movies)... at least western european mentality and culture (bergman, fellini, et al) are much closer to american.
The stalker in a way represents the holy fool, I think. He isn't flattering to himself and people walk all over him for their own purposes, but he is closer to god/the zone than others and is able to take them there.
very good observation, and you're absolutely right... in russian orthodoxy they are called "yurodivy" and have a special place in society as prophets. (i don't remember if you saw the brilliant movie "island", which presents this very well)
The zone itself is a kind of threshold and Russians are superstitious about conversing through them, and being in a neutral state in a threshold is also a no-no. One must go through and not look back. Turgenev wrote a poem about it, which I can't find a suitable link for, so if you want to read it, I can just quote it here. It isn't very long at all. Anyways, thresholds are important. I lost my train of thought. More to come later.
i don't think i've read the turgenev poem, so please do send it my way.
and you're very right about that aspect of russian superstition. i don't know if you've ever hung out with a russian (especially from rural areas), they are extremely superstitious, regarding just about everything. (of course that aspect has been dying out for a long time, and as you've probably noticed tarkovsky decries this in all his movies)
one example of this threshhold superstition is you're not supposed to stand in a doorway... always walk through it.... likewise, you should never do anything through a doorway (shake hands, give/receive things, etc.)
so the culturologist and psychologist in you may be on to something there, led.
those obnoxious beeping noises (which reminds me of Alphaville) make it very hard for me to sit through, especially after the first time watching it. I do think it's an intentional effect on the part of Tarkovsky to contrast with every other scene in the film, as I mentioned in my review in the sci-fi thread, but that doesn't mean I enjoy watching it.
i remember tarkovsky saying he considered "solaris" a failure because the science-fiction "genre conventions" that he included were superfluous and distracting.
Question: what is up with the interaction between the children at the beginning? And what is up with the horse?
you know the answer to what's up with the horse...
as for the children, notice the very aristocratic and cultured interaction between the boy and the girl... i think they play a similar role to the monkey in stalker... it seems to me represented to him something pure and unspoiled, compared to adults... (he did remark that children usually understand his movies much better than adults)
(also, the very high level of culture from both children is a positive reflection of their parents/grandparents - burton and kris's father, both of whose characters tarkovsky treats with great reverence in the movie, for what they stand for)